Oscars 2021: Colette, a very discreet winner

Lhe hexagonal cinema will have particularly shone at the 93e Academy Awards, held last night in Hollywood. In addition to Florian Zeller, awarded for the adaptation of his theater play to the cinema (under the title The Father) and Nicolas Becker, honored for his work on the sound of the film The Sound of Metal, producer Alice Doyard was also awarded for a documentary dedicated to Colette Marin-Catherine.

This Normande is the heroine of the medium-length film co-directed by Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard. Born in 1929, Colette was a child during the war. “My brother and my mother, of Lorraine origin, were part of two separate resistance networks. I have fun being presented as a resistance fighter myself because I contented myself with noting the license plates of the passing trucks and have never taken part in an armed operation, ”she blurted out. before adding: “The only real hero in the family is Jean-Pierre. “

A brother deported to Germany

The idea of ​​devoting a film to Colette stems from a meeting. In 2017, Alice Doyard, the French producer and co-director of this film, was contacted by the American filmmaker Anthony Giacchino, who wanted to make a series of portraits on WWII veterans. Both meet on the D-Day landing beaches, where a tourist guide tells them about one of her friends, this woman who lost her brother in the Dora camp in Germany.

The idea came to them to suggest to Colette to go to the same places where her eldest was deported on February 11, 1945 before dying there a month later. They decide to embark on the adventure of a high school student from Boulogne-sur-Mer, Lucie Fouble, then in her final year and who is researching Jean-Pierre Catherine and is preparing to devote a biographical note to him in the dictionary of 9,000. deportees from France coordinated by the historian Laurent Thiery.

READ ALSOA memorial book for the deportees of Dora

Jean-Pierre Catherine was roughly the same age as Lucie when he was arrested in June 1943. Deported to Germany with six other students who, like him, hid weapons for resistance groups, he did not survive the conditions of inhumane detention in this labor camp buried in old salt mines. He died there on March 22, 1945, a few days before the camp was liberated by the American army.

The memorial journey made by the old lady, on the arm of her young companion, nearly eight decades after the war is particularly moving. We see Colette accepting an astonishing role reversal when the high school student begins to tell her what the archives have taught her about her brother’s last days. Coming out of the tunnel in which the industrial facilities where prisoners worked 24 hours a day are rusting, the grandmother and the high school student fall into each other’s arms. And Colette offers the only memory she had left of her brother: a ring engraved with her initials.

If he regrets the pathos of the film a little, Laurent Thiery is delighted that this documentary allows the public to discover the reality of this little-known camp that was Dora. “The approach of our book is different, but the two works are complementary”, he emits. Lucie Fouble, who is currently completing a khâgne in Boulogne-sur-Mer, saw the birth of a vocation with this film. She plans to devote herself to research in history: “by concentrating on that of deportation”, she specifies.

The 19-year-old is all the more delighted with this Oscar as its attribution, on April 25, coincided with the 93e Colette’s birthday. Which, after having worked all his life in the hotel industry, sees in this film the means of making recognize the heroism of his brother.

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Oscars 2021: Colette, a very discreet winner