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Irena's Vow film image

Irena's Vow

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In her early 20s, Irene Gut Opdyke was hired by Wehrmacht Major Eduard Rügemer to work as the housekeeper in the Polish villa he had requisitioned. Risking her life, Irene hid 12 Jews in the cellar… and when Rügemer found out, she bought his complicity by agreeing to become his mistress. Opdyke later won the Nations Medal for her immense courage, and her story became a Broadway play by Dan Gordon in 2008, and now a film, directed by Louise Archibault (And the Birds Rained Down; Gabrielle).

Former child actress Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief; Yellowjackets) truly comes of age, here, with her heartrending portrait of a young woman whose moral conscience compels her to risk everything to thwart the evils of fascism. Dougray Scott (Ever After: A Cinderella Story; Mission: Impossible II) portrays the German officer. It’s a fascinating complement to Jonathan Glazer’s Zone of Interest, also screening at VIFF.


October 1: Q&A with director Louise Archambault


Sophie Nélisse, Dougray Scott, Andrzej Seweryn, and Maciek Nawrocki

Country of Origin








Content Warning

Violence, Antisemitism

121 min
Drama Women Directors

Book Tickets

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Executive Producer

Noah Segal, Laurie May, John K MacDonald, Eleanor Wiebe, Don Depoe, Michael Feehan and Sharon Azrieli


Nicholas Tabarrok, Beata Pisula, Tim Ringuette, Berry Meyerowitz, Jeff Sackman


Dan Gordon


Paul Sarossy


Arthur Tarnowski

Production Design

Joanna Białousz

Original Music

Alexandra Stréliski


Louise Archambault headshot

Louise Archambault

Screenwriter and director Louise Archambault made her debut with the internationally acclaimed film Atomic Saké. Her first feature film Familia won Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF and received a Genie Award. Louise launched her second film Gabrielle at Locarno and won the Audience Award. The film, selected to represent Canada at the Oscars and the Golden Globes in 2014, won many international prizes. In 2019, Louise released two feature films, And the Birds Rained Down, and Merci Pour Tout. These films both got considerable box office, ranking respectively 2nd and 3rd position in Canada. Louise just finished shooting the tv series Survivre À Ses Enfants, a comedy for Radio‐Canada.

Filmography: Familia (2005); Gabrielle (2014); And the Birds Rained Down (2019); Merci pour tout (2019); Le temps d’un été (2023)

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