Weinstein Company Buys U.S. Rights to SARAH’S KEY Starring Kristin Scott Thomas

     September 10, 2010


We’ve barely dipped our toes into the first weekend of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and we’re already bringing you news in regards to film purchases.  Yesterday, The Weinstein Company preemptively bought all U.S. rights to the French film Sarah’s Key (or Elle s’appelait Sarah) starring Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).  Helmed by co-writer/director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Pretty Things), the film is an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by Tatiana De Rosnay.

According to the press release, Sarah’s Key spans a period of almost seventy years and tells the story of an American journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) who is investigating the 1942 Vel’d’Hiv’ Roundup of Jewish families in Paris.  For more details on the buy, hit the jump for the full press release and a synopsis for the film.  Sarah’s Key will screen in Toronto on three separate occasions beginning next Thursday, September 16th.

sarah's_key_imageHere’s the press release:



10 September 2010. Toronto International Film Festival.  It was announced today that The Weinstein Company preemptively bought all U.S. rights to  “Sarah’s Key” starring Kristin Scott Thomas and based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Tatiana De Rosnay.  Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner,  “Sarah’s Key” starts in Paris, 1942, where ten-year old Sarah is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families as part of the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup.  Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard – their secret hiding place – and promises to come back for him, but she and her parents are dragged from their home forever.  Sixty-seven years later Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas), an American journalist investigating the roundup.  In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future.

The novel sold over two million copies worldwide and has been translated into 15 languages and published in 22 countries. The film is likely to open theatrically next year.

Comments producer Stéphane Marsil, “When Gilles and I first met with Harvey in Paris about ‘Sarah’s Key,’ we knew immediately that we shared the same passion and emotion about Tatiana’s book, and that a film had to be made.”

Peter Lawson and Michal Steinberg from The Weinstein Company and Grégoire Melin from Kinology negotiated the deal.

Sarah’s Key stars Kristin Scott Thomas Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner with a screenplay written by Paquet-Brenner and Serge Joncour, the film is produced by Stephane Marsil, edited by Hervé Schneid with music by Max Richter,  Françoise Dupertuis did the production design.

Here’s a synopsis for Sarah’s Key [via TIFF]:

It is July, 1942 in Paris, and ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance) knows something is wrong. There is a panic spreading through the city. The French gendarmes, supposedly under order from the Vichy government and Nazi occupiers, are going door-to-door arresting Jewish families and imprisoning them in the Vélodrome d’Hiver. Little does Sarah know that, after the imprisonment, they will be sent to Nazi death camps. In a final attempt to save her family, she locks her four-year-old brother, Michel in a bedroom cupboard – their secret hiding place. She promises to return for him, but she and her parents are dragged from their home forever.

Sixty years later, journalist Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) is assigned to write a cover story on the Vel’d’Hiv roundup of 1942. American by birth, Julia has been living in Paris for more than twenty years, and is married to Bertrand Tézac (Frédéric Pierrot), an unfaithful man from an old French bloodline. What begins as research for her article becomes more personal when Julia discovers that she and Sarah have something in common, prompting her to change her outlook on her husband, her adopted nation and herself. Julia discovers that the apartment owned by Bertrand’s family was acquired when the former Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported sixty years before.

Based on Tatiana de Rosnay’s bestselling novel of the same name, Elle s’appelait Sarah is a fictionalized account of the actual roundups in Paris that sentenced thousands of Jewish families to their deaths. Harrowing, emotionally complex and filled with pathos, the film is a moving tale of a terrible period of French history. Scott Thomas is pitch-perfect as Julia, as she comes to terms with the terrible secrets that have lain hidden for so many years.

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