Adapted from a novel by Philip Roth, the HBO mini-series by David Simon and Ed Burns rewrites history and realistically tells the rise of anti-Semitism in 1940 in the United States through the eyes of a Jewish family. Currently on RTS.
In 1940 in the United States, the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh won the presidential election against Theodore Roosevelt. In his radio address to the nation, Lindbergh blames the Jews for pushing America into an unnecessary war with Nazi Germany. Terror settles in homes when the new president signs a non-aggression pact with Hitler.
The man behind “The Plot Against America” is David Simon, a regular at historical re-enactments and stories inspired by true stories (“The Wire”, “Show Me a Hero”) . He adapts here an uchronic fiction from 2004 written by Philip Roth, which has the merit of setting the record straight on the complex personality of Charles Lindbergh, both national hero and Nazi sympathizer.
Multiplicity of points of view
Where the book only offered little Philip’s point of view, the series offers the looks of the entire Levin family. There is the mother who remains pragmatic, the youngest who has nightmares, the father who gets angry, the eldest son and the aunt who sink into denial.
RTS journalist Anne-Laure Gannac got lost between all these characters. For her, the fact of choosing a whole family instead of a single narrator “dilutes the interest” of the story. For the columnist Antoine Bal on the contrary, “it’s very promising for the deployment of the series: there will be no emotional dissensions, political divisions within this family”.
>> To see, the second episode of the series:
5-star casting and meticulous production
“The Plot Against America” is a slow-paced drama, especially during the first two episodes. A tempo that will put some people off, but which, according to RTS columnist Crystel Di Marzo, is easily forgotten when you immerse yourself in the daily lives of these well-defined characters.
For Anne-Laure Gannac, who had a lot of expectations, the first episode had the effect of “a cheese soufflé taken out of the oven too soon”. Antoine Bal meanwhile liked the elegant side of David Simon, “a kind of melancholy, something atmospheric that we already found in “Show Me a Hero”, by the same creator”.
All three critics praised Minkie Spiro’s careful direction, as well as the care given to the sets and historical re-enactment of the 1940s in order to show as realistically as possible the vicious rise of a totalitarian regime.
Radio subject: Anne-Laure Gannac/Antoine Bal/Crystel Di Marzo
Web adaptation: Sylvie Ravussin
“The Plot Against America”, a new mini-series broadcast from February 8, 2021 on RTS Un, to watch in full until March 7, 2021 on.