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Filming underway for documentary about Occupation freedom fighters

Filming underway for documentary about Occupation freedom fighters

Saturday 27 May 2023

Filming underway for documentary about Occupation freedom fighters

Saturday 27 May 2023

Filming has been taking place in Jersey for a documentary about a French couple who relocated to the island in 1937, and became active resistance workers and propagandists during the German Occupation.

A crew with the Franco-German channel ARTE have been in and around St. Brelade this week recreating the lives of artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, and their story “that keeps on giving”.

Although the arts and culture channel is only available on French television, islanders living in the south and east of Jersey might be able to catch a glimpse of their latest production point their aerials toward La Collette.

The documentary is due to be released in several months.


Pictured: Filming has taken place at the couple's occupation-time home of La Rocquaise, St. Brelade's Church and graveyard, and the War Tunnels. (Monty Losh)

Passionate local historian and guide Monty Losh (known to many as Deputy Montfort Tadier), who was interviewed as part of the documentary, said it is focused on the French couple's resistance efforts during the Occupation.

He added that it was "important" that their story is brought to a wider audience.


Pictured: The documentary is set to be released on French television in a few months time.

"It's a story that keeps on giving," he said, explaining that "it's three stories rolled into one".

He added: "First, a human and romantic story about two people who love each other very much and were soulmates – which is relatable to people and a nice story.

"Secondly, their art is still so relevant today. It was well ahead of their time, particularly in its relation to queer and non-binary ideas that have only come around recently, labels that didn't exist in their time.


Pictured: Claude Cahun (Lucie Renée Schwob) and Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe) are buried in St. Brelade's Church's cemetery.

"Third, their wartime occupation story allows us to re-interpret the Occupation from a completely different point of view. It is possible to become a bit blasé about the Occupation because the same stories are repeated all the time. While those are all important stories, this gives us a new angle.

"These women, who were not from Jersey, were in a unique position to carry out acts that others could not do, in terms of their backgrounds, status, income, and location on the island. They were very brave to do what they did."


Pictured: Claude Cahun's surrealist photography and art was seen as ahead of its time, particularly in its subversion of traditional gender roles.

Claude Cahun (born in Nantes as Lucie Renée Schwob) is best known for her highly-staged self-portraits in which she assumed a variety of androgynous performative characters, subverting gender norms through the visual aesthetics of Surrealism.

Her artistic work permeated many other mediums and much of it was delivered in collaboration with her partner, Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe).


Pictured: The plaque on Cahun's former residence in St. Brelade celebrates her "startlingly original" photography.

Originally from France, the pair moved to Jersey in 1937 to flee the impending rise of Nazism and anti-semitism in mainland Europe.

During the Occupation, they took on the role of 'Soldat Ohne Namen' and crafted subversive propaganda which challenged the Nazi regime.


Pictured: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore enjoying the views at their house in St. Brelade. (Jersey Archive)

However, their acts of rebellion eventually led to imprisonment for the pair and they were threatened with a death sentence.

Although this was never carried out, their their incarceration caused Cahun ill health until her death in 1954.

As appreciation of her work grew over time, Claude Cahun's Jersey Heritage-held catalogue has since toured more than 50 locations around the world.

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