New Jersey native wins Oscar for documentary about French woman’s journey

A filmmaker who grew up in New Jersey won an Oscar this past Sunday. Anthony Giacchino says that he hopes his documentary “Colette” sends a powerful message about life and coming to grips with the past.

News 12 Staff

May 1, 2021, 12:51 AM

Updated 1,121 days ago

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A filmmaker who grew up in New Jersey won an Oscar this past Sunday.
Anthony Giacchino says that he hopes his documentary “Colette” sends a powerful message about life and coming to grips with the past.
Giacchino says that when he was a child growing up in Edgewater Park he never dreamed that he would one day win an Academy Award. A student of history who went into filmmaking, Giacchino’s worlds came together in his film.
“Colette” tells the emotional story of Colette Marin Catherine, a 90-year-old woman living in France. It documents her first trip to the German concentration camp where her brother – a member of the French resistance – died during World War II.
“I hope that people understand that it takes a lot of courage to look into your past,” he says.
Giacchino says that Marin Catherine had avoided this part of her past for more than 70 years.
“Colette spent – and she says it – her life trying to forget this happened, right? And it was, I think for her, a survival mechanism,” Giacchino says.
Giacchino says he was in France three years ago exploring possible stories about World War II when someone happened to mention Marin Catherine’s story.
“It wasn’t that we had read anything about her or someone knew her. It just came out of a single conversation over lunch with a tour guide,” Giacchino says.
He says that he believes that the message of the film is about acknowledging the past in the hope that it leads to a better future.
“Colette” won Best Documentary Short Form. It is in French with English subtitles. It can be viewed for free online.


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