But what the film does do is show us how seemingly average people like Pepe develop this toxic mindset; in his case, this is a combination of being uneducated, having lived his entire life in the countryside where he has probably never actually laid eyes on a Jewish person, and getting all of his politics straight from a propaganda radio station. Wartime Refugee Claude Alain Cohen is an eight-year-old Jewish boy growing up in Paris during. After all, he has no qualms about spewing horrifyingly bigoted things, such as telling Claude that all Jews have large hooked noses so that they can sniff out money. That is the only word for it, and it's miraculous how old Simon chases the boy around the yard, joins in his imaginary games, gets on the swing, puts a knife between his teeth and pretends to be a dirty Bolshevik about to kill and eat him. The 4K restoration of The Two of Us is now available on Blu-ray. The film is loosely inspired by his own life.
He has no idea that young Claude, who has come to live with them, is Jewish; he accepts the reasonable explanation that this Catholic child has been sent by his parents to be safe if Paris is bombed. When not watching, making or writing about films, she can usually be found obsessing over soccer on Twitter. A good many of the old man's neighbors oppose the Petain government that rules occupied France on behalf of the Nazis, but Pepe keeps the marshal's portrait framed on the wall, and Meme dusts it every day. Pepe, the husband, is a Petain supporter and a anti-Semite, but he does not know about Claude's religion. Pepe, the husband, is a Petain supporter and a anti-Semite, but he does not know about Claude's religion. Above all, Berri reminds us that our prejudices are rooted not in any concrete reality, but in what we do not know and so do not understand. Berri based The Two of Us on his own childhood experiences as a Jewish refugee housed with a Gentile family in the countryside during the war, which explains why his characters feel so authentic even in or perhaps because of their various contradictions.
Because of his beliefs, Pepe feels that he has no one else to talk to except Claude, who ironically is a member of the very group of people Pepe is railing against. An early scene in which the village pastor gives a sermon encouraging the congregation to embrace and protect the minorities among them, pointedly looking at Pepe as he does so, is a particular standout. Yet beneath all his bluster, Pepe does have a big heart, and he eventually embraces Claude as though he were his own grandson. He also has long talks with Pepe about life. The character of Pepe, an avowed antisemite and cranky old man, also has the potential for being too obnoxious for audiences to be invested in. Such a scene of discovery would be a sentimental irrelevance, because the movie is not concerned with what Pepe knows but with who Pepe is; the person who learns and grows is Claude.
He is not converted in his thinking by this movie, and one of its strengths is that it ends without him ever becoming enlightened. Because of the risks of an arrest France is occupied by the Nazis , his parents send him away to an elderly couple in the country. But unlike other boys, his seemingly harmless actions could have dangerous consequences for his parents, who must stay under the radar of the authorities or risk being arrested. I suspect if he did know, he would make an exception for Claude while continuing to harbor his prejudices against theoretical Jews he has the advantage of knowing nothing about. In one particularly poignant scene, Pepe describes what he believes are the identifying characteristics of Jews to Claude; hooked noses, big ears, curly hair. After Claude flees the room, the old man examines himself in the mirror, unable to reconcile his own appearance with what he has just told Claude.
The scene where Simon examines himself in the mirror could have been played for laughs, or ironically, but he plays it as an exercise in mystified curiosity. The film is the story of their growing mutual affection. Advertisement That's the setup for a heart-warming movie that showcases one of the last performances of the great 1895-1975 , who began his career by looking old and kept on looking older. The boy listens to Pepe's descriptions of Jews, but when Pepe says they have big noses, the boy points out that Pepe's nose is enormous. The old man has not given much thought to his prejudices but caught them like a virus in his childhood and has carried them along uncritically into old age. I was 8 years old and already a Jew. The film is the story of their growing mutual affection.
By the time the film ends, one will feel as though one has a greater understanding of the subtleties of the human spirit. Like many young boys, he often gets into mischief, whether it be shoplifting, smoking in outhouses or getting into fights after school. . Share your thoughts in the comments below. As the grandfatherly Pepe, beloved character actor Michel Simon infuses the role with a gruff tenderness, his growing relationship with the boy a touching portrayal of connection in a broken world. Upon having this evidence recited to him, Claude grows terrified that he is identifiable as a Jew and must be comforted by Pepe in his hysteria. The boy squeals with delight and joins Pepe in spoiling the old man's beloved dog.
There are no epic battle scenes, infamous political leaders giving speeches, or any of the other usual trappings of a big war movie to be found in The Two of Us. Synopsis Claude is a Jew. Simon plays Pepe, the old farm owner whose life revolves around his dog, his wife and his prejudices. Instead, Berri treats audiences to an intimate drama about how even the loneliest, stubbornest people can overcome their perceived differences to become great friends. Does The Two of Us sound like a refreshingly unique look at a war that has been depicted on film so many times? Cohen Film Collection is proud to present a gorgeous new 4K restoration of this world cinema classic.
Lee Jutton has directed short films starring a killer toaster, a killer Christmas tree, and a not-killer leopard. Berri was born in 1934 with the name Claude Beri Langmann, the same name little Claude has in the movie, and so it is fair to conclude the movie is the result of what the little boy learned during his stay among the gentiles. He has no idea the child he has come to love so much is a Jew. He learned that anti-Semitism is an evil, but he learned to forgive some of the Pepes of the world, for they know not what they do. In Berri's version of the story, his parents are posing as Alsatians but fear the boy will reveal his true identity in a heedless moment. Yet moments later, Claude points out to Pepe that this must mean Pepe is also Jewish — after all, he too has a hooked nose, big ears, and curly hair. A friend who is Catholic suggests that young Claude be taught the Lord's Prayer, given a new last name and sent to live with an old couple on a farm outside Grenoble.
How could Pepe, who seems to care so much for other living things, honestly believe that Jews are his enemy? Simon was a large, shambling fact of life, a man who always seemed too large for the space available. The small boy has been warned by his parents to be constantly on guard against discovery. Because of the risks of an arrest France is occupied by the Nazis , his parents send him away to an elderly couple in the country. The heart of the film is in Simon's performance, though young is convincing and lovable as Claude, and would go on to play Berri's autobiographical hero in two more films their relationship became a little like Truffaut's with. For those who do know, forgiveness is another question, but that is another movie. The Two of Us also succeeds on this front thanks to the pitch-perfect casting of Alain Cohen as Claude.
When an 8-year-old Jewish boy Alain Cohen living in Nazi-occupied France is sent by his parents to live in the country with the Catholic parents of their friends, he is faced with a culture clash both religious and generational. In 1944 in occupied Paris, his parents sent him away to live with gentiles, who would claim him as one of their own and protect him from deportation and death. . . . .