In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein is sent by the Nazis from Paris to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The guards take her clothing and luggage and they cut her hair very short. One day, when she is very weak, she hears someone asking whether any prisoner could sing Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and she joins the group of musicians that have been spared from the gas chambers to entertain the Nazis performing music for them. She convinces the conductor Alma Rose to invite her friend Marianne, telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity.
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Did You Know?
Despite controversy and attempted boycotts, the 3 hour film was the highest viewed program of the week, with 20.4 million American homes watching its debut. See more
Upon joining the camp orchestra, Fania Fenelon (Vanessa Redgrave) is asked by the women's commandant for her shoe size. Fenelon replies with the American shoe size "9", whereas in reality she would have given the European equivalent size of 40. See more
Referenced in Paradise Road
Un bel di vedremo
from "Madama Butterfly"
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Lyrics by Giuseppe Giacosa
and Luigi Illica See more