Come What May

"En mai, fais ce qu'il te plaît" (English captions when necessary) was yesterday's entry to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. It screened at the Shoreline Community College, which was my first time to see that venue.

Confidently written and directed by Christian Carion with writing assistance from Andrew Bampfield and Laure Irrmann, this beautifully filmed historical drama takes us to a small village in France just as German troops begin their relentless march through the country in May, 1940. Based on advice from the prefecture, the village of
Pas-de-Calais reluctantly agrees to evacuate. Much of this historical drama takes place as they plod down country roads, carrying their most treasured goods in wagons, trucks, carts, wheelbarrows and baby buggies.

Millions of European citizens were displaced by WWII when they found themselves in harm's way. And yes, they were strafed by the Luftwaffe and harassed by German troops.

The cast:
  • August Diehl is Hans, a loving father from Brussels who is trying to get his son Max to safety before the Germans take him prisoner again.
  • Joshio Marlon is Max, the seven year old who leaves messages for his father on the blackboards of schools after they become separated.
  • Olivier Gourmet - Paul is mayor of their little hamlet and it's his decision that starts their evacuation.
  • Mathilde Seigner - Mado is the mayor's wife. She is assertive and has her own opinions about how to survive.
  • Alice Isaaz is Suzanne, the local school teacher. She uses her authority and charisma to help the children bear up under the stress. She particularly relates to motherless Max after he is separated from his father.
  • Matthew Rhys - Percy is an Allied soldier from Scotland. He discovers Hans is not an enemy, AND Hans is multilingual! 
Both the father and son speak German and French. The father can also switch to English when he encounters the Allied soldier. As an American who grew up monolingual, I can't help but feel inadequate. This was the last screening for the festival, so I won't show the dates and times here. There is no point in frustrating you. ...smile...