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The Jewish Cardinal (TV Movie 2013)
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from votes
Release: 29 March 2013 (France) /

The Jewish Cardinal (TV Movie 2013)

Genre: Biography
Director: Chantal Derudder,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: The Jewish Cardinal tells the amazing true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism at a young age, and later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the Church, Lustiger was appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II - and found a new platform to celebrate his dual identity as a Catholic Jew, earning him both friends and enemies from both groups. When Carmelite nuns settle down to build a convent within the cursed walls of Auschwitz, Lustiger finds himself a mediator between the two communities - and may be forced at last to choose his side. Written by Anonymous

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Critic Reviews


According to direct Ilan Duran Cohen in response to his drive for bring the true story of Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger to film, Cohen stated,'Lustiger was always emphatic about his duel identity. In an early interview as Archbishop, he said, "I was born Jewish, and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyim. That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it."Lustiger was a champion of interfaith dialogue and "The Jewish Cardinal" explores these intricacies of balancing faith, family and identity. In a scene in which nuns settle to build a convent within the walls of Auschwitz (where his mother died in 1943), his Jewishness comes most sharply to the fore and Lustiger finds himself a mediator between the two communities.'

A bit of factual data: Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger 17 September 1926 – 5 August 2007 was a French cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Paris from 1981 until his resignation in 2005. He was created cardinal in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. Lustiger was born Aaron Lustiger in Paris, to a Jewish family. His parents, Charles and Gisèle Lustiger, were Ashkenazi Jews from Będzin, Poland, and had left Poland around World War I. Lustiger's father ran a hosiery shop. Aaron Lustiger studied at the Lycée Montaigne in Paris, where he first encountered anti-Semitism. Visiting Germany in 1937, he was hosted by an anti-Nazi Protestant family whose children had been required to join the Hitler Youth. Sometime between the ages of ten and twelve, Lustiger came across a Protestant Bible and felt inexplicably attracted to it. On the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 the family moved to Orléans. In March 1940, during Holy Week, the 13-year old Lustiger decided to convert to Roman Catholicism. On 21 August he was baptized as Aaron Jean-Marie by the Bishop of Orléans, Jules Marie Courcoux. His sister converted later. In October 1940, the Vichy regime passed the first Statute on Jews, which forced Jews to wear a yellow badge. Although Jean-Marie Lustiger lived hidden in Orléans, his parents had to wear the badge. Lustiger, his father and sister sought refuge in unoccupied southern France, while his mother returned to Paris to run the family business. In September 1942, his mother was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where she died the following year. The surviving family returned to Paris after the war.Lustiger's father tried unsuccessfully to have his son's baptism annulled, and even sought the help of the chief rabbi of Paris.

Written by director Cohen and Chantal Derudder, THE Jewish CARDINAL relates the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger (Laurent Lucas) the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism at a young age, later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the Church; Lustiger was appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II (Aurelien Recoing) - and found a new platform to celebrate his dual identity as a Catholic Jew; earning him both friends and enemies from either group. When Carmelite nuns settle down to build a convent within the cursed walls of Auschwitz, Lustiger found himself a mediator between the two communities - and may be forced at last to choose his side.

The acting and the setting and the glorious musical scoring enhance this little film well. It is a powerful film to experience not only because of the quality of craftsmanship that produced it, but also because of the profound message eh film's subject offers for consideration. We are all one.

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