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Rochelle G. Saidel and Sonja M. Hedgepeth had the opportunity to see The Innocents, also called Agnus Dei, at the Jerusalem International Film Festival on July 11, 2016. The film is indeed related to the work of Remember the Women Institute, as Angela Bonavoglia points out in her excellent reviews listed below. This outstanding film by director Anne Fontaine deals with a subject related to our work on sexual violence during the Holocaust: the post-World War II rape of Polish nuns by Soviet occupying troops. Set in Poland in December 1945, the film is based on the true story of Dr. Madeleine Pauliac, a French resistance fighter and Red Cross doctor. Stationed at a field hospital relatively near the convent, Pauliac (called Mathilde in the film) gives medical assistance and support to the nuns who had been impregnated by the rapes and are about to give birth. The film sensitively portrays the nunsí shame and is also a reflection on their objectification as women. The director wisely makes a distinction between consensual sex and the horror of rape. Highly recommended for the story, the acting, and the cinematography.

Other noteworthy films seen at the festival: A German Life (Germany) features an interview with 103-year-old Brunhilde Pomsel, who was the secretary for Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Harmonia (Israel) is a modern take on the biblical story of Sarah and Hagar. The Last Laugh (USA) discusses whether the Holocaust is an appropriate subject for comedy, interviewing famous comics and offering several memorable jokes. No Home Movie (France) is Chantal Ackerman's film about her last days with her mother, a Holocaust survivor.

Faith Takes Center Stage in The Innocents (Huffington Post)

Must-See New Film on Women, Faith, and Rape in War (Sandi Klein's Conversations with Creative Women)

The Innocents Tackles Women, Faith and Rape in War (Ms. Magazine)

Complete list of Remember the Women Institute news items

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