Life story

Toronto film producer animates the story of Charlotte Salomon’s life during the Holocaust era

Film producer Julia Rosenberg was out for a run one morning when she decided she had to tell the story of Charlotte Salomon, a young German-Jewish artist who created what is known as the first graphic novel (Life? or theatre?), in the form of an animated film, Charlotte (in theaters April 22).

“The idea came to me so cleanly that I didn’t even question it,” Rosenberg said. Yahoo Canada. “Charlotte Salomon drew her life story and so I needed to produce an animated film based on her life story.”

“The film itself is drawn, it’s art, it beautifully amplifies Charlotte’s approach to storytelling… In some ways it’s closer to the dreamscape in many ways and it surprises us to see how it can evoke emotional states and feelings when we least do so. wait for it.

FRANKFURT/MAIN, GERMANY: A visitor looks at a painting by Charlotte Salomon on display at the ‘Staedel’ museum in Frankfurt/Main, June 15, 2004. From June 17 to August 22, 2004, the ‘Staedel’ shows in the exhibition titled ‘La life? or theatre? in cooperation with the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam 280 out of around 1300 gouaches the artist painted in an intense burst of creativity between 1940 and 1942 in the south of France. It’s my whole life, so Charlotte Salomon describes the collection. The artist died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. AFP PHOTO DDP/THOMAS LOHNES GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read THOMAS LOHNES/DDP/AFP via Getty Images)

Salomon, a talented artist, fled Nazi Germany, Brelin more precisely, to safety in the south of France. She continues to paint but her life is interrupted by the discovery of the family’s deep history of mental illness and suicide. This prompts Solomon to visually describe his life story, which gave us Life? or theatre?

Salomon was killed after being taken, together with her husband, by the German Gestapo from southern France to Auschwitz in Poland. She died the day she arrived in 1943, aged 26 and five months pregnant.

“The very first thing we all want is for people to learn about this work and its story, and to amplify its genius and increase public appreciation for it,” Rosenberg said.

“Charlotte’s story is a story of hope and despite what challenges us externally and internally, we can make choices and often through creativity, find hope.”

Charlotte in theaters April 22 (Elevation Pictures)

Charlotte in theaters April 22 (Elevation Pictures)

While the circumstances of this film have forced Rosenberg to work to interpret Solomon’s work and life story, based on available documentation, the film’s producer pointed out that Solomon herself “invites us to question “the depiction of his life, even calling his work Life? or theatre?with question marks.

“We watched how Charlotte told her own story in Life? or theatre?, we consulted with the Charlotte Salomon Foundation, we looked at different academic approaches and there are many interesting theories,” Rosenberg said. “The one that was published a few years ago speculates that [her] grandfather was particularly hideous, even more hideous than he appears in our film.

“At the time we thought, well, that’s interesting, but it looks like an interpretation, and I think Charlotte would appreciate the interpretation… We tried as much as possible to stay with what was more known to be true.

Charlotte, with the main character voiced by Keira Knightley in English and Marion Cotillard in French, uses beautifully crafted animation to tell this harrowing, but as Rosenberg points out, always hopeful and inspiring story. There is a unique expression to the visuals that so effectively convey this sobering narrative, while still maintaining the artistic beauty.


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