Lecture, film screening to explore the life of French Prime Minister Léon Blum

The lecture, presented in English will take place Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Hulsey Recital Hall.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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serge bokobza 2011Serge BokobzaThe UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, along with the Alliance Française of Birmingham, will present a lecture, “Léon Blum: Prime Minister of France, Socialist and Zionist,” followed by the screening of “Léon Blum: For All Mankind,” directed by Jean Bodon and produced by Jean Bodon and Serge Bokobza.

Serge Bokobza, Ph.D., associate professor of French and cinemas studies will present the lecture in English, Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Hulsey Recital Hall.

The lecture is an overview of Blum’s life and the making of the film. Blum was both the most hated and most loved French politician of the first half of the 20th century. He participated in the Dreyfus Affair, WW I, the Popular Front, WW II, the Libération, and the creation of the State of Israel. He was a socialist and an heir of Jean Jaurès and of Clémenceau.

The film examines the life of the former three-time Prime Minister of France who was imprisoned in the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. Blum is best known by his countrymen for introducing labor reforms, including the 40-hour workweek, increased wages and two-week paid vacations for workers in 1936 during the “Popular Front.” Blum’s Jewish heritage and socialist ideology made him a target for the Nazis, and in 1943 he was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, where he remained imprisoned for two years. Hitler used Blum as a hostage. After his release, Blum spent one year heading France’s provisional government and negotiated a U.S. loan to France for post-war reconstruction.

The event is free and open to the public.