Monday, June 6, 2011

Charlotte Gray

Have you seen the 2001 movie, "Charlotte Gray?" Based on a novel by Sebastian Faulks, the movie follows a Scots woman who joins a special unit of the British army during WWII and parachutes into Vichy France to search for her lover, a downed Royal Air Force pilot. Working with the French Resistance, her mission is to pass vital information between the maquis and Britain, a dangerous and sometime deadly job. The French village part of the movie was filmed in Saint Antonin-Noble-Val, which is a village in the Tarn-et-Garonne, the department just south of the Lot. It's a wonderfully dramatic story of love and war. But the reason I watched it again this weekend is because one brief scene near the end of the movie was filmed here...at the bridge that crosses the Lot River at Cajarc. Charlotte is desperately seeking her friend and two young boys. As she chases the freight train bearing them to a Nazi work camp, you see this lovely bridge in the background. If you look quickly, you'll also see the house on the Salvignac-Cajarc side of the river.  Cajarc townspeople filled roles as crowd 'extras' when the scene was filmed. And while the village scenes were shot at Saint Antonin, they could have easily been shot in the old part of Cajarc; it looks very much like the images in the movie.


As I searched the internet for information about the movie, I came across the Warner Bros. website that I've linked above. I spent an hour looking through it. If you have any interest in WWII, the French Resistance, or the brave women who were real-life "Charlotte Grays," please click on the link. It's fascinating to read the stories of these women and see artifacts from their work. And it's heartbreaking to learn that not all of them survived their missions. When captured, they were executed by the Germans or sent to concentration camps where they, like many others, died.

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