Monday, January 22, 2007

Four Women in War [Hitler and four Women]

I watched tonight with some of my friends a little known documentary movie called "ヒトラーと4人の女たち" [Hitora- no 4nin no Onnatachi] or Quatre femmes dans la guerre or FOUR WOMEN IN WAR, directed by Patrick Jeudi. Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing about this movie on the Internet. Even a search of 'Patrick Jeudi' reveals only one or two documentaries he had made before this, but not this one. I have no idea how this movie was made or what for or where it was shown first. No such information seems available. So here let me briefly write about this great documentary.
First, I watched this movie with a few Germans, Japanese, USA-ians, Irishmen, Indians, a Hungarian, and a Spaniard. In general all of them liked it as much as I did.
This is not a movie for entertainment, but a movie for a study of history, more like a documentary on the History channel. The whole movie seems to consist of movie clips and photos of the period; there are no actors playing any role. From beginning to end, there are various shots and movie clips, some quite moving and perhaps targeted to mature audience--especially some shots showing the war-wounded and naked bodies being disposed of like autumn leaves and twigs.
The movie seems to have been originally in French, but the one we watched was in English. As a documentary, the characters don't speak themselves except through a female narrator. So there is no perceptible mis-synchronization problem. The movie tries to tell the events in the life of four women at the time of Hitler, connected with Hitler's rise and fall. The four women are: Margaret (B.White), the American photo-journalist; Nancy Mitford, a British novelist and biographer known also for her relationship with Colonel Gaston Palewski, Charles de Gaulle's Chief of Staff; "Madeline," a French freedom fighter; and Traudl Junge, Hitler's secretary. The narrator introduces each of the characters and what they did during the time of war. Perhaps the longest time is given to Margaret, focusing on her pioneering activities as a woman photo-journalist during the time of war.
A few details about the movie: It's a "Roche Productions" production, made in 2005. It's about 98 minutes long. The opening note says: "Based on real characters. However, our narration has taken a few liberties." The narration seems to have been adapted from many sources related to the characters. Music is by Laurent Lesourd. The archive footage comes from many sources like Absolutely Archives and Natural Archives Washington. The International Sales seems to be handled by France Television Distribution.
The movie is worth watching mainly for historical education since it consits almost entirely of the movie clips of the period. There are numerous shots of Hitler himself in his private moments--segments that seem rare. The narration is quite gentle or objective (cool?)--without any sermonizing or revolutionary reflections.
Highly recommended for history buffs, historians of women's struggles in men's world, World War II historians, and those wishing to recall the painful experiences of the early 1940s.


CS Catharina said...

Isn't the name of the director's name of the film you reviewed is "Patrick Jeudy"? I found several titles of his documentaries all made for TV including the one you reviewed: Des femmes dans la guerre (2005 TV).

Robert Capa, l'homme qui voulait croire à sa légende (2004) (TV)

... aka Robert Capa: The Man Who Believed His Own Legend
(International: English title)
Ce que savait Jackie Kennedy (2003) (TV)

... aka Jackie Kennedy: What Jackie Knew (International: English title)

Bob Kennedy: L'homme qui voulait changer l'Amérique (2003)

... aka Bob Kennedy, the Man Who Wanted to Change America (International: English title)
"Histoires de fiction" (2003) TV Series

Marilyn malgré elle (2002) (TV)
Robert Doisneau tout simplement (2000

Des femmes dans la guerre (2005) (TV))

Dyan said...

Well written article.

Anonymous said...


I am Patrick Jeudy, the director who made "Hitler and four women". The right spelling of my name is JEUDY.