Hof, UK Jewish, Kasseler Dokfest
A nonagenarian French Jewish woman reveals her unlikely WWII espionage activities.
For nearly six decades, until she finally wrote a memoir, Marthe Cohn kept her wartime exploits to herself. Now, she travels around the US and beyond from her home in Los Angeles to speak about her experiences – most notably, how, in the last days of WWII, she became a spy behind enemy lines to gather key information about Germany’s activities for French Intelligence. It’s the latter that gave Cohn her the nickname that serves as the film’s title, translated as “little pain in the neck.” Cohn is a charming and fun older woman, a welcome figure to spend time with, but Nicola Hens’ film has structural issues, taking a too strictly chronological approach which robs it of any real drama – Cohn’s spy experiences are crammed into the last half hour of the film, with the bulk of the doc instead spending an outsize amount of time on the otherwise generally uneventful life of its subject.