The Life Ahead

     The origin of this story goes back to 1975, when French director/screenwriter Romain Gary (ex-husband of actress Jean Seberg) worked under the pseudonym Émile Ajar and penned the classic novel La Vie Devant Soi (The Life Before Us): An orphaned Arab boy, Momo, is devoted to Madame Rosa, a dying and elderly survivor of Auschwitz and a former prostitute. The setting is Paris’ immigrant slum, Belleville, where ladies of the night, pimps, transvestites and petty thieves flourish. Gary’s book earned France’s Prix Goncourt—equivalent to a Pulitzer—firmly establishing the tale’s pedigree. […]