Excerpts from the opening minutes of the new, remastered 25th-anniversary edition of the feature documentary "Weapons of the Spirit—the astonishing story of a unique conspiracy of goodness during World War II and the Holocaust. In and around the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in Nazi-occupied France, some 5,000 Jews were sheltered—by some 5,000 Christians!
Written, produced and directed by Pierre Sauvage, who also appears and narrates the award-winning film, "Weapons of the Spirit" will soon be available once again in both its new, full-length 93 min. version and a short, 38 min. version especially suitable for classrooms. For more information: the Chambon Foundation at chambon.org.
This is a story filmmaker Pierre Sauvage was born to tell: born and protected in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, he returned just in time to preserve the memory. For more information: chambon.org.
"Not a single Jew who came [to Le Chambon] was turned away, or turned in. But it was not until decades later that the villagers spoke [notably in "Weapons of the Spirit"] of what they had done. 'How could you call us good?' they said. 'We were doing what had to be done.'"
President Barack Obama
"If you wish to learn what more men and women could have done to save Jews, watch Pierre Sauvage's poignant documentary. It is superb!"
Elie Wiesel, witness, author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate
“A very fine documentary about some people who managed, miraculously, to overlook their tribal and religious differences and just see their common plight as human beings.”
R. Crumb, cartoonist
"Both the best Christmas special and the best Hanukah special likely to be seen [in 1990]. An absolutely extraordinary story about matter-of-fact heroes. In a hundred years, it is likely to be timely still."
Tom Shales, Washington Post
"The astonishing story it tells and the memories it preserves are beyond value. Captures the goodness and faith that radiate from these people."
Caryn James, New York Times
"An inquiry into the nature of goodness and a personal odyssey. Moving and provocative. Enormously uplifting. What an extraordinary story."
David Ansen, Newsweek
"Perhaps the most extraordinary display of moral choice in this century. One jaw-dropping tale after another. A great moral adventure."
Robert Koehler, Los Angeles Times
"A fascinating chapter of history intersecting an unsurpassingly personal saga."
Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Incroyable—as compelling and exciting as fiction. A film that will be around for a long time."
Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times
"Astonishing. Olympian. Emotionally wrenching. Bulging with profound questions of morality, responsibility and religion."
Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Luminous. It seems an anomaly to speak of an exhilarating Holocaust film, but [this] is just that, and more."
Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"As moving—and tough-minded—a film about efforts to save the Jews of Europe as has been made."
Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal
"A personal and modest masterpiece that can be compared to the best achievements of the monumental Shoah and The Sorrow and the Pity."
André Pierre Colombat, The Holocaust in French Film (Scarecrow Press, 1993)
"Flawless. The best kind of filmmaking, both intensely personal and of universal interest."
Tom Jacobs, Los Angeles Daily News
"A film-making triumph."
David Bianculli, New York Post
"Offering a healthy and bracing alternative to the ethnocentrism that informs so much commentary about the Holocaust, this is a film that quite simply restores one's faith in humanity."
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, on-line review
"Sublimely understated and unsentimental. Deserves to be called the do-good movie of the past 40 years."
Eleanor Ringel, Atlanta Constitution
"Inspiring. Told with a restraint that may make you weep. Suggests the work of John Ford."
Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times
"First-rate. Incisive, moving, and morally instructive."
David Denby, New York Magazine
"Riveting. A poignant reminder that good people don't have to surrender their beliefs even in the terror—or lethargy—of the times."
Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle
"Saw [the] film the other evening and admired it."
Elia Kazan, director, author
"Inspiring and ennobling, beautiful and painful to watch, this extraordinary film is a tribute to a kind of moral courage rarely seen but to which mankind must, if it is to survive, aspire."
Norman Lear, producer
"No matter how many times one sees Pierre Sauvage's masterpiece, it never fails to move us deeply. As we look into the faces of the rescuers, we experience first-hand their peaceful demeanor, their modesty, simplicity, and serenity, and, and, forty years after the events in question, their absolute astonishment that anyone could possibly consider what they did anything other than normal human behavior.”
Dr. Patrick Henry, professor of philosophy, author, "We Only Know Men"
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