The Dreyfus Affair: Why the filmmaker’s depiction of early-20th-century anti-Semitism in ‘J’accuse’ is, with reservations, ‘important and beautiful’

Roman Polanski’s Dreyfus
by Bernard Henri-Levy
December 3, 2019

I would like to talk here not about Roman Polanski but about Roman Polanski’s new film, J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy), which he dedicates to that key moment in French history, the Dreyfus affair…Admirable and, suddenly, so revealing, the scene where we see, in Paris, an autodafé of the newspaper L’Aurore, which had just published Emile Zola’s “J’accuse,” as well as an attack against a shop tagged with “Jewish Boutique” and “Death to Jews”: Suddenly, in a flash, we are no longer in France, 1906, but in Berlin, 1938, on Kristallnacht—and there could be no better way of showing the affair’s shock wave, the way it ushered in the 20th century, its transhistoric and transnational dimension. READ MORE

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