By Erin Levi

Set to grace New York City theaters starting March 29th, «Farewell, Mr. Haffmann,» directed by Fred Cavayé, promises to be a poignant addition to the cinematic landscape. This French-Belgian drama, set in occupied Paris in 1941, delves into the harrowing realities faced by the Jewish community during the Holocaust.
At the heart of the narrative is Joseph Haffmann (portrayed by the seasoned Daniel Auteuil), a dedicated jeweler confronted with the chilling directive for all Jews to identify themselves to the authorities. Fearing for his family’s safety, Haffmann orchestrates their escape from the city, leaving his business in the hands of his employee, François Mercier (played by Gilles Lellouche). However, Haffmann’s own attempts to flee are thwarted, compelling him to seek refuge under Mercier’s protection.
What ensues is a precarious arrangement fraught with tension, where Mercier and his wife Blanche (skillfully portrayed by Sara Giraudeau) find themselves embroiled in a moral quagmire. As the couple moves into the Haffmann household, what begins as a gesture of kindness transforms into a Faustian pact, altering the course of their lives irreversibly.
Directed by Cavayé, «Farewell, Mr. Haffmann» skillfully explores the moral complexities of Vichy France amidst war and the black market. With its adept storytelling, the film delivers unexpected twists, captivating audiences with a gripping cinematic experience.

Bukharian Jews in Paris outwit the Holocaust

In Paris during these wartime years, there was a significant presence of Bukharian Jews, about 42 families, whose survival during this period is nothing short of miraculous.
Rena Vadyaeva, a centenarian residing in Paris, recalls a poignant moment from that time. A special request was sent regarding the status of Bukharian Jews: whether they should be considered Jews or simply individuals who had converted to Judaism. The response, attributed to Rosenberg, asserted that they were not Jews by descent but rather converts, with some even suggesting they were Muslims.
This anecdote sheds light on the complexities faced by various Jewish communities during the Holocaust era, including questions of identity and survival.

Coming to theaters nationwide

Starting March 29th, audiences in New York, NY, can catch the 115-minute long «Farewell, Mr. Haffmann» at both the Quad Cinema and New Plaza Cinema. The film continues its journey across the United States with screenings starting on April 5th in Los Angeles, CA, at Laemmle’s Royal and Encino, CA, at Town Center 5. Additionally, it will be shown at Waltham, MA’s Embassy Theater, Huntington, NY’s Cinema Arts Center, Kew Gardens, NY’s KG Cinema, Mamaroneck, NY’s Mamaroneck Cinema, and Malverne, NY’s Malverne Cinema.
With more cinemas to be announced soon, «Farewell, Mr. Haffmann,» a winner of 19 audience awards, offers a profound exploration of sacrifice, survival, and the resilience of the human spirit, standing as a testament to the enduring power of cinema to illuminate the darkest chapters of history with empathy and authenticity.