BALAGAN unites two worlds, the director Gabrielle, has inherited: her family’s abandoned Jewish identity and their passion for cinema. In 2020, her father’s death set her on a path to uncover why her father never shared the details of his Jewish past.

When Gabrielle’s father, Jean-Claude was only a boy, his father, her grandfather Léon, was deported to Auschwitz, and nine months later died in Buchenwald. Jean-Claude and his little brother William, hid this history in painful silence. The brothers became filmmakers during the New Wave period in France, Nouvelle Vague, where they found a visual language that allowed them to escape into a world of their own. With moving images, they ushered in a different reality. It allowed them to move on — or so it seemed to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle’s generation, the third after the Holocaust, is referred to as “Balagan”. A Hebrew word which means mess, chaos. This sums up her impression: to be Jewish but not really. BALAGAN will weave together archives and testimonies from the era of French cinema in the aftermath of WWII to recover what has been lost.

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