“Charlotte”: the fighter

Posted Nov 8, 2022, 4:00 PM

In 2014, the novelist David Foenkinos triumphed in bookstores (nearly 400,000 copies sold) with ” Charlotte (Gallimard). The author of “La Délicatesse” evoked in a long song the personality and the destiny of Charlotte Salomon, this young German Jewish painter who died in Auschwitz at the age of twenty-six.

Eight years later, the animation filmmakers Eric Warin and Tahir Rana in turn return to the short life and exceptional creativity of this extraordinary woman. In “Charlotte”, a film that never gives in to sentimentality, the filmmakers trace the intimate and artistic journey of a young girl haunted by personal trauma (suicidal pathologies afflicted the women in her family) and victim of the frightening tumults of the Big story.

Born in Berlin on April 16, 1917, Charlotte Salomon grew up in a privileged and loving environment, between her father, a doctor and renowned teacher, and her stepmother, a famous singer. In 1936, against all odds, the young woman who dreams of becoming an artist joins the Academy of Arts in Berlin, where Jews are nevertheless banned. In these places where aesthetic academicism wreaks havoc and where “degenerate art” is castigated, Charlotte discovers the ignominy of anti-Semitism and forges some precious friendships. The day after Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938, his father was arrested and interned for a few weeks. A drama that encourages the family to leave Germany.

urgency and dread

Charlotte Salomon joined her grandparents in the south of France, in Villefranche-sur-Mer, where they found refuge in the property of Ottilie Moore, a wealthy American and passionate about painting. In France, Charlotte, helpless witness to her grandmother’s depression and grappling with her grandfather’s dictates, nevertheless manages to create. Sensing the imminence of the worst, the young girl, gripped by urgency and artistic fury, gave birth to more than 1,300 drawings and paintings inspired by her personal life. A production that she will bring together in a project entitled “Leben? Oder Theater? (“Life? Or theater?”, published in France by Le Tripode in 2015) and which she managed to entrust to a friend of Ottilie Moore before being arrested and deported to Auschwitz in October 1943.

With a rigor and sensitivity that mark each scene, Eric Warin and Tahir Rana paint a portrait of this woman of her time: one victim among many others of Nazi barbarism and a unique artist who takes on the voice of Marion Cotillard (and Keira Knightley in the English version). A lively, inspired tribute; moving and necessary.


Animation Film

by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana.

With the voices of Marion Cotillard, Romain Duris, Anne Dorval. 1:32 a.m.

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“Charlotte”: the fighter

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