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SARAH'S KEY

A Note From Tatiana de Rosnay
It's tricky for a writer to accept a director's vision of her book, but I had decided to put my trust in Gilles Paquet-Brenner from the start. When he explained "his” vision of "my” Sarah, it was so thrilling and he was so clearly excited at the prospect. And then there was Serge Joncour, a loyal friend and talented novelist, and I knew that a new Sarah would be reborn through his vision.

I read the script. I liked it. It has to be said that we writers always find a script a bit dry, lacking in descriptions and nuances. You have to factor in the actors' performances. I hadn't learned to do that, but I saw that Serge and Gilles had respected my book. They hadn't radically changed anything.

Then the adventure of the shoot began. The unforgettable encounter with Mélusine Mayance, who plays Sarah. I can still see her coming towards me with her yellow star on her chest, her pert little face and big bright eyes. My Sarah! An intense and almost unreal moment. And then later, Kristin Scott Thomas as Julia Jarmond. I'm an extra in a scene with her – that was another magical memory that will be engraved in my mind forever. Then the day I saw the movie for the first time, with Serge. I'm apprehensive, scared I'll be disappointed. Scared I won't recognize "my” Sarah. The first ten minutes are a blur, I can't break out of my novel. I force myself and suddenly I'm immersed in the movie. I fall in love with the film. And at the end, watching the final scene, an incredible wave of emotion overwhelms me, and I start crying. Yes, I cried.

The film is restrained, like the book. There's no pathos, no mawkishness. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a wonderful performance as an American journalist who wants to know the truth at all costs. Michel Duchaussoy is spot-on and amazingly moving as Edouard Tézac. Gisèle Casadesus as Mamé enchants me. Niels Arestrup as Jules Dufaure charms me with his gruff affection. Aidan Quinn and his intense gaze just overwhelm me. All the actors have their place in the movie - Frédéric Pierrot, Dominique Frot, Natasha Mashkevich – and in the heart of this novelist because they have become my characters on screen.

Gilles Paquet-Brenner has captured the emotion I wanted to share with my readers when I wrote the book. The portrait of a woman who opens Pandora's box. The heartrending image of a little girl whose life is shattered. A man who knew nothing of his mother. The taboo, sixty years on, surrounding one of the darkest moments in our history. Thank you, Gilles.

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