Arts & Entertainment

Farewell, Mr Haffmann

The historical WWII drama – Farewell, Mr Haffmann – is set during the German occupation of Paris in 1941 when Jews were being rounded up and mercilessly transported to concentration camps. The film doesn’t concentrate on the atrocities being committed to these communities but revolves around three characters and how their decision to defy the Nazi regime’s laws against the Jews ultimately had drastic consequences upon all their own lives.

Francois Mercier (Gilles Lellouche) aspires to start a family with Blanche (Sara Giraudeau) the woman he loves. He’s a poor employee of Mr Haffmann (Daniel Autevil) the Jewish owner of a successful jewellery store. An agreement is made. Haffman will leave the shop to Mercier and escape to the free zone with the intention of returning and reclaiming his property once the war ends.

“How can you trust me?” Mercier asks. Later his wife confides in Haffmann, “It was a mistake – once he had nothing and now, he has it all.” Haffman quickly returns to hide under the store upon the realization that his plans to meet up with his family in the free zone have been thwarted by German patrols.

How will Mercier react upon Haffmann’s return? And what’s Mercier’s bewildering plan to conceive a child?

What transpires is an unpredictable and gripping drama resonating that fear, power and greed can influence friendships, relationships, and adversely affect people’s decision-making skills.

This is a high-quality French production with English sub-titles that should captivate and astound audiences leaving them to ponder afterwards whether they too would change under those circumstances.

★★★ ½

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