Surviving Auschwitz

Surviving Auschwitz

SURVIVING AUSCHWITZ

SYNOPSIS

The Film is based on a true story, that of the life of the boxer Victor “young” Perez, a Jewish Tunisian. Benjamin “Kid” Perez, his brother, and also a boxer, is supposed to fight in Tunisia against the French champion but he’s injured during training. So Victor replaces him for the fight and against all odds wins with a superb knockout. He is then offered the chance by Beilleres, a major French boxing manager, to leave Tunisia and to continue his career in France. Victor leaves for Paris with his brother and close friend Maxo to pursue a career in boxing and follow his dream of fame and fortune. Beilleres suggests Benjamin becomes Victor’s coach and, under his brother’s supervision, he trains hard and becomes French Flyweight Champion at the tender age of eighteen. Because of his age, the Press quickly dubs him “Young Perez”. He is entered into the European boxing championship for France and again wins impressively – but he receives a real body blow when he is disqualified as he is not actually French. The French people love him and adopt him as their own people’s champion and as a result he is quickly reinstated as a French Champion. Before long Young Perez achieves his ultimate aim of becoming a World Champion – ably supported by his older brother Benjamin, who is always in his corner and at his side and sparring with him.

At this point in the story he meets a fascinating and ambitious young actress, Mireille Balin. She is astonished to meet Victor again, who she first working part time as a waiter saw at Maxim’s restaurant when he was training as a boxer. From the moment Victor saw Mireille he knew – just as he knew he would be a world champion boxer – that one day they would be lovers… So, Mireille and Victor begin a very public love affair and she introduces him to the glitz and glamour of Paris. Victor is swept away with the lifestyle and completely oblivious to Mireille using him to further her film career.

He starts to spend less time in the gym and more time with Mireille as it becomes clear to Benjamin that she has Victor completely under her spell. Everything he and Victor have worked for in boxing will be gone, unless he can make Victor see sense.

Soon, courtesy of her relationship with Victor, Mireille achieves her dream of becoming a famous film actress and starts to make a string of high profile movies. Both are now the toast of Paris and it seems the two young lovers have everything. Victor is now completely mesmerised by Mireille and the night life of Paris such that his love for her overrides his love for boxing. Late partying and love of champagne soon take an effect on his training – or lack thereof – and brother Benjamin worries that Victor is jeopardising everything they have both worked so hard for; his coveted world title belt and the love of the French people and Press who have taken him to their hearts.

Benjamin urges Victor to take his training seriously or risk losing the defence of his world title to the British Flyweight Champion. Not long after, a very out of shape and ring-rusty Young Perez takes an incredibly bad beating and is stopped, losing his coveted World Flyweight crown. His relationship with Mireille implodes as she starts to be seen out with other leading men and refuses to see him. With his love life in tatters his motivation deserts him and a terrible losing streak in the ring ensues. Now, in the late 30′s, and with his boxing reputation in tatters and his brother returning to their native Tunisia, a penniless Young Perez agrees to fight in Berlin. But in the ring, with Nazi flags everywhere and an enraged nationalist crowd he encounters serious racial abuse – and a foretaste of now what Europe will suffer. On his return from Berlin, a penniless Victor is walking in the streets of occupied Paris when by chance he sees Mireille in the famous restaurant where they used to have dinner together, sitting at a table with a German officer. A lethal cocktail of anger and emotion and self-pity rises up inside of Victor and he confronts Mireille – questioning her loyalty to France and her morality. When challenged by the officer for his identity, he retorts “I am Young Perez” and knocks the officer to the floor. He is immediately arrested and sent to a German concentration camp.

In a terrible twist of fate when he arrives at the camp Victor meets none other than Benjamin his estranged brother who, unbeknown to Victor, had returned to get him out of Paris only to be arrested himself and sent
to the same camp.

Commander Hoess, the SS Commander in Chief of the camp, eventually hears about the so called boxing skills of Victor. A big fan of the sport himself, Hoess unemotionally and cruelly tells Victor that no Jew could possibly be a great boxing champion and that he must have been helped by officials who rigged his fights. He commands Victor to train and fight a young, strong, massive Aryan soldier but, he says, this time with no corrupt officials to save him from a beating. Hoess himself will referee the bout. He stares coldly at Perez and tells him this is a fight he will lose and lose badly.

Only one of the Perez brothers would and return after the war to tell the amazing and harrowing story of their time in the camp – and what happened when David fought Goliath. Can Victor recover past glories and restore his dignity and those of the many he would fight for in the brutal and inhumane camp?

This is the story of the Tunisian man called Victor Perez who will always be known as a great French champion. A man whose sporting flame dimmed almost as quickly as it ignited, but who would be forever remembered for his actions in a German concentration camp. A man who, after many years in a dark place and in the face of adversity, would once again be known to those who loved and believed in him, as Young Perez.

 

The film has now been picked up by US distributor 7th Art and is currently on the festival circuit in the US before it will then go on release. Surviving Auschwitz has now also been signed by UK distributors High Fliers Films PLC and has been released on DVD.

The film was nominated for the Best International Film Awards at São Paulo International Film Festival and Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It premiered at the Fingal Film Festival in Ireland. Surviving Auschwitz was also been picked up by US distributor 7th Art it has also been released theatrically in countries such as France and Russia. The movie has been released by UK distributors High Fliers Films PLC and is available on DVD and VOD.

 Variety were quoted “This is an enjoyable film” “ This film packs a real punch and is an exciting drama.” A Voir Lire.

 

 

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