Photo: Benjamin Boccas
Sarah Kaminsky is a screenwriter, actress and writer. She wrote a book about the life of her father - Adolfo Kaminsky: a life of a forger, a resistant humanist who worked for 30 years to defend many causes. Here, Sarah talks about commitment, hope (and how to convey it) - and of course, hair.
Tell us about your book: why did you want to write about your father's life?
My father was "the Paris Forger" during World War II, and then continued this clandestine activity for 30 years! His story - and the fact that he's always refused to be paid for it - has been kept a secret for a very long time. I discovered it growing up, and that's why I wanted to make this book: to tell it, so that everything is written somewhere. And for me, this book has a particular resonance with current events, it is in a way quite hopeful for the current generation: at the level of a single person, it is possible to change things...
His whole life, your father has been actively involved in different causes ... Can you tell us more about his engagements?
He becomes a forger at the age of 17, because he has the knowledge and the technical know-how, and because he is Jewish, he must change his identity himself to save his own skin. And as he saves his own life, he saves the life of others, many others, and in particular thousands of children. Then, after the war, when everyone resumed the course of his life, he continued to work for all the causes that seemed right to him, for the struggles of decolonization - he was on the side of the Algerians, then the Guineans, the Angolans etc - for all human causes, and all this without any distinction between people, whatever the color of skin, religion, origin, age, sex... To him, a human is a human, period.
You grew up with these values, never making any distinction between people?
Well of course, my father is white, of Ashkenazi Russian origin, he was born in Argentina, a nationality I inherited. And my mother is Algerian, black, Tuareg, Muslim - and they have a big age difference. For me, there is nothing exotic about it since it is my universe, at home we never asked ourselves the question of the difference! It is only through the gaze of others that we feel these things or not, it is the gaze that outside people have on us that makes us feel comfortable or not ...
You have beautiful curly hair: what is your relationship with it?
As a kid, I wanted to have smooth, very long hair, princess hair... in Algeria where I was born, there was no conditioner! My hair was washed with Marseille soap: it was a nightmare! Then when I arrived in France, I had a mop of curly hair that went down to my buttocks. My mother would put tons of detangler on me, sometimes several bottles, but it still took several hours to break through the knots - I remember entire Saturdays spent in the bathtub... Then as a teenager I was quite rebellious, I've had an Iroquois crest, then no hair at all... I wanted to break the 'wise girl's image'.
Later, I realized that if I wanted beautiful curls, I had to stop taming them! I started to untangle them with my fingers (and not with a brush), to let them freely dry in air... And then, miracle, they stopped tangling!
Today I find that the physical characteristic that represents the most my personality is my hair, natural, as it is! As soon as I modify it, it feels like disguise... Besides, last time I did a brushing goes back more than... 8 years!
And our 3 usual questions:
What's your hair top?
When I got a real afro haircut that was pretty loose - that was 17 years ago, when my son was just 1 year old. The curls were super beautiful, I had nothing to do in the morning, just apply a bit of cream, shake my head and hop! And I remember, I was walking with my head held high, I felt so good.
Do you have a hair flop?
I have many! I did a lot of crazy things with my hair, colors, pink, blue, green, I shaved completely, did bangs, braids ... - but I wouldn't say those were really hair flops, it was kind of funny... I would say that 'hair flop' moments usually happen when you have complicated moments in your life... for example when you're young and struggling, with more issues, and then just when you decide to do a brushing the rain comes... so nothing is going right!! I remember this New Year's Eve when I was walking in street with my hair just brushed, going to a party, and then the rain came and the drizzle made my hair all swell up - but without making it curly either! Just as if if I had received 100,000 volts of electricity... it was terrible..!