A Bag of Marbles (Un Sac de billes), in U.S. theaters on March 23, is a new adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s best-selling novel, and portrays two Jewish boys fleeing the war through Occupied France during the 1940s.
Following on from Jappeloup and Belle & Sébastien, his two previous movies shot in France, Quebecer director Christian Duguay has chosen to bring Joseph Joffo’s renowned autobiographical novel to the silver screen. The book was originally published in 1973, and has sold more than 20 million copies. The author recounts the mishaps, adventures, and dangers he experienced as a child with his brother Maurice during World War II, as the pair fled the Nazis and the Vichy government. With the realization their whole family is threatened with deportation in 1942, their parents send them away from Paris to reach unoccupied Southern France, promising to join them there. The two boys are left to fend for themselves, and a grueling race for their lives ensues.
This is the second cinematic adaptation of this classic book for young adults, after the 1975 movie by Jacques Doillon (The Little Gangster, Ponette). Unlike Doillon, who took a more sober approach in an effort to portray realistic emotion, the Quebecer filmmaker offers a more traditional yet undeniably striking work. While it occasionally lacks nuance, A Bag of Marbles is carried by fantastic performances from Dorian Le Clech and Batyste Fleurial, as well as by their parents played by Patrick Bruel and Elsa Zylberstein. A movie sure to tug on your heartstrings.
U.S. release: March 23
Director: Christian Duguay
With: Dorian Le Clech, Batyste Fleurial, Patrick Bruel, Elsa Zylberstein, Bernard Campan, Christian Clavier, Kev Adams
Running time: 110 min
Article published in the April 2018 issue of France-Amérique.