The Story of Annette Zelman [7/10]

Seemingly modest in ambition, The Story of Annette Zelman proves to be an intelligent, unabrasive addition to the cinematic holocaust library. Our heroine is a plucky upbeat twenty-year-old Jewish artist in occupied France during WWII. Based on the real Annette, with what seems like careful adherence to the actual chronology, we see her in 1942 Paris, energetically resisting the slowly turning screws of the Vichy government at the behest of the sinister Gestapo, falling in love, and then tumbling into the maw of the upcoming genocide. With less violence and more canny tension-building, splendid, non-grandstanding acting throughout, and sure-footed plotting, the movie builds a sense of horror toward what might be a predictable outcome but is saved from viewer dissatisfaction by some wonderful, inspired final scenes.

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