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Political thriller hunts villain of Vichy France.
Jewish Telegraphic Agfency
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6635 Orchard Lake Rd. • W. Bloomfield • Tel: 248.737.3317 • Fax: 248.737.3026
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(248) 353 7890 • 29875 Northwestern
In Applegate Square, Between 12 & 13 Mile Roads
he Statement opens in 1944
with a black-and-white
montage of a young French
officer in the pro-Nazi
Vichy militia signaling a firing squad
to execute seven Jews.
More than four decades later, having
been sheltered by the Catholic Church
in the meantime, the officer, Pierre
Brossard, is on the run after a reluc-
tant French government finally charges
him with crimes against humanity.
The film, shot in France with a first-
rate British cast, is a satisfying political
thriller. It combines a tour of scenic
cathedrals and monasteries with an
examination of the murky point where
religion, politics, guilt and self-preser-
Primarily responsible for the sus-
pense and intensity of The Statement,
as well as some of its shortcomings,
are three masters of their crafts.
They are director Norman Jewison
and actor Michael Caine — both
Yiddish-speaking Protestants — who
talked about the film and their person-
al backgrounds in interviews at a Los
Angeles hotel. The third is Roland
Harwood, the South-African born
Jewish screenwriter who won an Oscar
for The Pianist.
As the hunted Brossard, Caine, 70,
is a devout Catholic whose twin goals
are to escape his pursuers and receive
the Church's absolution so he can die
in a state of grace.
After him are two gunmen who ini-
tially appear to be members of a
Jewish vigilante organization. They
have been ordered to kill Brossard and
to leave a statement on his body
explaining that the assassination was
in revenge for the killing of the seven
Jews — and of the other 77,000
French Jews who died at the hands of
the Nazi and Vichy regimes.
In the background, however, lurk
powerful shadowy figures who easily
made the transition from Nazi collab-
orators to high-ranking officials in the
post-war French governments.
The film is adapted from a roman-a-
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Actor, director often thought to be Jewish.
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Jewish Telegraphic Agency
nterviews with Norman
Jewison and Michael Caine
don't resolve every reservation
about The Statement, but they
do yield some interesting items
about two movie veterans who grew
up Christian in Jewish neighbor-
hoods and often are taken as
"Members of the Tribe."
Jewison, 77, grew up in a working-
class district in the east end of
Toronto with large Jewish and Irish
Protestant populations ; and he
attended a Jewish school.
By.virtue of his last name, young
Norman often was taunted by the
Irish kids as "Jew boy" and "Jewie,"
and he identified so closely with his
Jewish classmates that he asked his
parents why they didn't observe the
He was crestfallen to learn that he
was a Methodist, a denomination he
laughingly says is made up of "tough,
When his hit film Fiddler on the
Roofpremiered in Jerusalem, Jewison
was seated next to then-Prime
Minister Golda Meir.
"Everybody naturally assumed that
I was Jewish, and Golda kept calling
me `boychik,'" he recalls.
Through some genealogical
research, Jewison has discovered that
all gentile Jewisons originated in the
Yorkshire region of England.
He theorizes that they're descen-
dants of the 12th-century Jewish
community of York, 150 of whose
members were massacred in 1190.
"I know all about discrimination