1938: Lucy and Suzanne – stepsisters, artists and lovers – leave Paris, where they have been at the centre of the surrealist movement, to begin a secluded artistic life on the British island of Jersey. Their new-found tranquility is disrupted by the invasion of the Nazis. Rather than flee, the couple remains to carry out a daring campaign of artistic resistance against their fascist occupiers.
The story of Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe is not widely known, even in Jersey. The film shows the relatively little-known fact of the Nazis invading and occupying a British, Anglophone territory, which will prove interesting to English-speaking audiences.
The two women’s efforts constitute some of the longest and most sustained acts of resistance of WW2, based on non-violence with unlikely protagonists. The heroines are gay women, one of whom is Jewish.
BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF CLAUDE CAHUN
Writer: Jonathan Socrates
Producers: Evangelo Kioussis & Giles Foreman
Executive Producer: Simon Baxter
Before moving to Jersey, Lucy and Suzanne worked at the heart of the surrealist movement in Paris, where they counted such notable figures as André Breton (the founder of the Surrealist movement) among their friends. They produced artwork, much of which was political, under the androgynous pseudonyms Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, a fact that would later hinder the Nazis’ investigation.
The title of Trespassers is taken from a warning that Lucy inscribed on the first page of one of her pre-war notebooks: “Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted”. The film examines notions of trespass and transgression pertaining to the women’s life and times: The Nazi occupation of Jersey, the forbidden nature of their resistance activities, and the couple’s transgression of social norms by cross-dressing and being lesbians in a quasi-incestuous relationship.