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Coronavirus: streets stuck in Nazi-occupied Paris as 1942 set abandoned

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Two streets in Paris are stuck in the year 1942 after a film set was deserted due to the city going into lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis.

Adieu Monsieur Haffmann, directed by Fred Cavayé, was wrapping up filming in the area when the measures were enforced, leaving its film crew no choice but to leave Montmartre’s Rue Berthe and Rue Androuet as they were – that is, dressed to reflect Paris under Nazi occupation.

As The Guardian reports, the streets were boarded up in parts with fake facades for a tailors, corset shops, a shoe repairer and mirror-maker. War propaganda and signs in German also decorated the scene.

View of the deserted film set taking place during WWII ‘Adieu Monsieur Haffmann’ directed by Fred Cavaye,on March 26, 2020 in the Montmartre district of Paris, France. CREDIT: Pierre Suu/Getty Images

Residents who live in the two streets must now endure a view of the city’s WWII past until restrictions are lifted and film crews can return to dismantle the set.

  • Read more: All the films and TV shows suspended due to coronavirus

The black comedy (due for release in 2021) is an adaptation of an award-winning play that tells the story of Joseph Haffmann, a Jewish jeweller living in Paris at the outbreak of WWII who hides in the cellar of his shop to evade capture by the Nazis.

Tim McInerney, a university lecturer in British and Irish cultural history in Paris and co-host of the Irish Passport podcast, tweeted: “Just in case quarantined Paris wasn’t disorientating enough: my neighbourhood was being used as a film set when the lockdown hit. Now the whole block has been left frozen in 1941”.

He wrote later: “Paris is of course haunted by the legacy of the occupation. There’s a school down the road that has a plaque telling you how many Jewish children were deported.”

Adieu Monsieur Haffmann is released in France on January 20, 2021.

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