A TV Hit About Small-Town France in WWII

Un Village Francais“Un Village Francais” (“A French Village”) is about the small fictional village Villeneuve, in the Jura region of France, occupied by the Germans in WWII. The first episode takes place in 1940 with German planes opening fire on picnicking school children. Each season takes place in a different year, except for seasons one and two, which both take place in 1940.

The story lines revolve around the inhabitants of Villenueve and how they deal with the harsh rule of the German Occupation and, later on, the Gestapo. The crux of the series is how the townspeople cope with their dire circumstances which become unpredictable on a daily basis and the sometimes impossible choices they have to make. Some collaborate with the Nazis to appease them and to survive, some try and escape to nearby Switzerland, some join the Resistance. The wife of the stoic town doctor who becomes mayor and has an affair with a Nazi officer. The doctor’s brother forms a communist group to fight the Germans and abandons his young son after his wife dies. A French school teacher falls for a German officer.

uvfA number of episodes tell the story of how Jews are rounded up and sent to the concentration camps and how the townspeople either betray them or try to save them.

One of the great things about series is the multi-faceted depictions of the Occupation, not just one side of the story or a single group. It shows the various movements including Communism, the Gestapo, the Resistance, and towards the end of the Occupation in 1944 when the Militia takes over.

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