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full-length (90 min.) or short (35 min.) version--both with Bill Moyers interview
WEAPONS OF THE SPIRIT
by Pierre Sauvage
During World War II, in and around
one village in Nazi-occupied France,
5,000 Jews were sheltered—by 5,000 Christians!
The astonishing story of a unique conspiracy of goodness.
President Barack Obama:
"In the moral accounting of the Holocaust, as we reckon with numbers like 6 million…we also remember the number 5,000 -- the number of Jews rescued by the villagers of Le Chambon, France -- one life saved for each of its 5,000 residents.
Not a single Jew who came there was turned away, or turned in. But it was not until decades later that the villagers spoke of what they had done -- and even then, only reluctantly."
Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance address, April 23, 2009
video of President Obama’s address on the Holocaust
full text of President Obama’s address on the Holocaust
This is a story Pierre Sauvage was born to tell:
born and protected in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon,
he returned just in time to preserve the memory.
U.S.A./France, 1989, 90 minutes
color—35mm, 16mm, DVD, video
U.S.A./France, 1990, 35 minutes (short version), color—DVD, video
English-language with some French, subtitled
French-narrated version: Les armes de l'esprit
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a tiny Protestant farming village in the mountains of south-central France. Defying the Nazis and the French government that was collaborating with the Nazis, the villagers of the area of Le Chambon provided a safe haven throughout the war for whoever knocked on their door.
Most of the villagers were proud descendants of the Huguenots, first Protestants in Catholic France. They remembered their own history of persecution, and it mattered to them. They also read the Bible, and tried to heed the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself.
“The responsibility of Christians,” their pastor, André Trocmé, had reminded them the day after France surrendered to Nazi Germany, “is to resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit.”
There were many other uncelebrated individual and collective acts of goodwill and righteousness throughout the dark war years. But nowhere else did a persistent and successful moral consensus develop on a scale approaching what happened in the area of Le Chambon.
Released theatrically in 1989 in over 50 major markets, selected for over 20 film festivals, the highly acclaimed feature documentary was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious DuPont-Columbia University Award in Broadcast Journalism.
On television, the documentary has received two national prime-time broadcasts to date, on P.B.S in 1990 and in 1992. The P.B.S. broadcast was introduced by Bill Moyers, who also interviewed the filmmaker in the broadcast. The video includes Moyers’ introduction and the interview.
Weapons of the Spirit was produced by the nonprofit Chambon Foundation, founded by Pierre Sauvage, whose mission is to explore and communicate, especially on film, such necessary lessons of hope intertwined with the Holocaust’s unavoidable lessons of despair. The Chambon Foundation and filmmaker Pierre Sauvage are in post-production on And Crown Thy Good: Varian Fry in Marseille.
Theatrical release in over 50
major U.S. markets, 9-week run in Paris
4-7 week runs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Boston...
selected for 20 film festivals
U. S. national broadcasts, P.B.S: December 12, 1990, 9-11 p.m.; March 23, 1992, 9-11 p.m.
All rights: Chambon Foundation
(& Greenvalley Productions)
All rights, Bill Moyers Interviews Pierre Sauvage (25 min.): Chambon Foundation
All rights, Weapons of the Spirit—Short Version (35 min.): Chambon Foundation
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© Copyright 2009, Chambon Foundation. All rights reserved. Revised: May 20, 2010