By Jeff Walsh
"A Love to Hide" takes place in 1942 Paris, as the country is under German occupation during World War II. As the movie opens, we see Sara escaping, and learn to find that she is Jewish, her family was killed, and she barely escaped alive.
She goes to see Jean, an old friend she knows from when their families used to vacation at the same place each year when they were just kids. She always had a crush on Jean, who sets her up to live with Philippe, his friend. Jean's family owns a laundry that has no choice but to deal with a lot of German military officials to stay in business, so it isn't safe to keep her with his family.
As Sara wonders whether her childhood crush on Jean will turn into something again, now that they are adults, she sees Jean saying goodbye to Philippe, and their kiss lets her know her future with him isn't likely to happen.
With Sara being hidden from the Nazis by Philippe, Jean's brother Jacques returns from prison, serving time for being a black marketeer. He has a crush on Sara, doesn't know her roommate is his brother's boyfriend, that his brother is gay, or how quickly one little thin can make things go so horribly wrong.
Prior to watching the movie, my only understanding was it was set in France in the 1940s. The cover art, with its pastoral bike riding, belies a movie that will also include Gestapo and concentration camps.
I think this is an incredibly important movie for Oasis readers to watch. So often, there are discussions of why they need to accept rainbow flags and all of this other baggage as their identity. This movie shows some of the history of the pink triangle, which was used in Nazi concentration camps to denote gay men, similar to two superimposed yellow triangles that Jews were forced to wear in public at that time.
I believe in the George Santayana quote, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." I think that unlike people of a particular racial background, gay history is vital and has to be passed down from one generation to the next. When ACT-UP reclaimed the pink triangle and added the slogan "Silence = Death," to rally during the AIDS epidemic, it was extending and embracing this history (which is why I always hesitate when it comes to entirely supporting the Day of Silence, I have a generational hiccup in this regard, as I was wearing a Silence=Death shirt when I first shook Bill Clinton's hand two days before he was elected President). I have a stained glass pink triangle I wear at Pride, opting for that over any rainbow action. Unlike a black child, who learns about race, culture, and discrimination from their family from birth, there is no such thing for gay people. We don't find community until later in life.
Movies like "A Love to Hide" are a good way to watch a well-made, informative piece that entertains, but also informs. The gay couple just wants to live together and love one another, and try to balance that desire with their need to become involved in what is going on around them. The performances are all great, the movie is paced and shot beautifully.
I was surprised to learn that it wasn't until 2001 that France admitted it helped deport gay citizens at this time, many of whom ended up in labor camps, concentration camps, or just dead.
So, while I thought I was getting into more of a love story, it was a history lesson. But it was interesting how all of the stories dove-tailed nicely into one another, and made for a satisfying experience. While it's not upbeat, it is still startling to realize how recent this was in our history. And in some parts of the world, gay people are still executed, genocides are still going on... so, this is only a history lesson if we keep moving forward. Your generation gets to make choices whether movies like this are good history lessons or cautionary tales.