DCA Archive

A Bag of Marbles
(Un sac de billes)

Discovery Film Festival

This heartwarming adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s enduring memoir gives an account of the Nazi occupation of France through the eyes of two young Jewish boys.

The story starts in Paris in 1941, where Joseph and Maurice are the sons of Roman, the local barber. At ages 10 and 12, the boys have so little understanding of the persecution of Jews that Joseph thinks nothing of swapping his yellow star for a bag of marbles. Despite their naiveté, Roman knows that their best chance to escape the Nazi roundup is to flee on their own to Vichy France, where their older brothers Albert and Henri have found safe haven. Always one false move from tragedy, these tenacious children survive on courage, ingenuity, and more than a bit of cunning as they make their precarious way through France hoping to reunite with their family. More than anything, it’s their brotherly bond that gets them through their ordeals.

Terrific performances from newcomers Dorian Le Clech and Batyste Fleurial Palmieri capture the mischievousness, courage and ingenuity of the two brothers, who are hapless innocents trying to outrun the cruel machinery of war.