The Big Little Documentary: “Colette”

The family of 90-year-old Colette Marin-Catherine, including Colette herself, joined the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation. Her brother Jean-Pierre was sent to a German concentration camp where he died in 1945. In Anthony Giacchino‘s 24-minute documentary “Colette,” which I saw on YouTube, the haunted, usually unsmiling Colette, accompanied by a history student named Lucie Fouble, visits the defunct camp for the first time. Colette calls her brother “a man of steel,” and an intelligent one at that. The siblings’ mother averred that it was Colette, not Jean-Pierre, who should have died. The woman has never really gotten over this remark.

Colette and Lucie do not remain dry-eyed at the camp. Neither will the viewer. “Colette” is poignant. Not that it matters, but it won an Oscar for the best short doc of 2020. Here we see the sensitivity of two ordinary women in the face of malignant history.

(In French with English subtitles)

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