Having been forced into minor parts for several years by a debilitating illness, veteran film actor Michel Simon made a triumphant return to leading roles in the charming, poignant The Two of Us (Le Vieil Homme et L'Enfant). Simon plays a likeable old soak with one significant character flaw: he is a flagrant anti-Semite. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, 8-year-old Jewish lad Alain Cohen is sent to the country, there to live with the parents of his family's Catholic friends. One of those parents is, inevitably, Simon. Taking a liking to Alain, and unaware that the boy is Jewish, Simon attempts to introduce the lad to the doctrine of anti-Semitism. The boy plays along with the old man, teasing him about his prejudices. Despite their obvious philosophical differences, Simon and Alain form a strong and affectionate bond. Director Claude Berri, whose films have often touched upon the Jewish experience in France, once more draws from his own experiences to weave a sensitive, seriocomic scenario.
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