At first glance, it could be assumed that a film series about the Holocaust would entail a relentlessly grim journey through one of history’s darkest chapters. However, the HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES, presented by JIFF, and screening in Melbourne and Sydney from late March until early April, highlights the resilience and courage of the human spirit through true stories of love, identity, hope and survival against the odds. Presenting 22 premiere feature films, shorts and documentaries from countries as diverse as Poland, Italy, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Serbia Germany, France, Holland, Israel, Russia, Albania and Hungary, the HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES showcases the passion of filmmakers young and old, united by their desire to make sense of an event that encouraged both the finest and most evil aspects of humankind.
Throughout the last seven decades, the Holocaust has been explored – seemingly – from every conceivable angle. But despite the tremendous steps forward in the quest for human rights, irrational ethnically motivated crimes still occur. It is only through engaging in a contemporary dialogue about the Holocaust that we can learn from it and hope to achieve a better future. The diverse slate of films presented in this unique series reveals many amazing and inspirational tales that will fascinate and entertain, while reminding us that humanity’s quest for equality, compassion and understanding is continually evolving
Highlights of the HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES include:
BESA: THE PROMISE
When the story of a promise between an Albanian Muslim and the Jewish refugee he helped to hide is uncovered it inspires two very different men to embark on a mission of honour.
BUREAU 06: THE ARCHITECTS OF THE EICHMANN TRIAL
The story, in their own words, of the specially commissioned group of investigators – many of German background – tasked with preparing the Jewish people’s case against Adolf Eichmann which also told the story of the Jewish Holocaust to the world.
THE JEWISH CARDINAL
A biopic about Jean-Marie Lustiger who identifies as a Catholic Jew, even after being appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II. But his loyalty is challenged when nuns try to build a convent at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
THE LADY IN NUMBER 6
Canada/2013/short film/39 minutes
Nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 2014 Academy Awards, this is the inspirational story of 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor who shares her story on how to achieve a long and happy life. She discusses the importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook.
KISSES TO THE CHILDREN
Five Greek-Jewish children, who were hidden by Greek families during the German occupation of Greece, tell their stories for the first time. The film reconstructs Jewish life in Greece before the war using rare archival material.
Israel, Russia/2012/documentary/86 minutes
A documentary crew searches for Mishka, a boy who is said to have fled into the Belarus forest during WWII and lived with wolves. A ghost chase along the Trans-Siberian railway, this film blends truth and fiction with unexpected results.
OCTOBER 43 – THE RESCUE OF DANISH JEWS
Until October 1943 Danish Jews were not being transported to Nazi concentration camps. In this documentary some of the few remaining survivors, who personally experienced the escape from Denmark in October 1943, tell their stories.
Germany, UK, Hungary/2013/documentary/63 minutes
Regina Jonas (voiced by Rachel Weisz) became the first female rabbi in 1935. This is a documentary about an extraordinary woman’s struggle, devotion, faith, and love and a portrait of early twentieth-century Jewish life in Berlin.
Richard Wagner was notoriously anti-Semitic. But many of Wagner’s closest musical collaborators were Jews. This film explores Wagner’s complex personal relationships and debates performing Wagner’s music in Israel. Can art be separated from its creator? Can art transcend prejudice?
WHEN DAY BREAKS
Serbia, Croatia, France/2012/feature/90 minutes
Serbia’s official entry for Best Foreign Language film at the 2012 Academy Awards, this is the story of a Serbian music professor who is shocked when the contents of a long-buried iron box reveal that he is the son of a talented Jewish musician.
The HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES will screen as follows:
20 March-2 April / Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
23-30 March / Sydney Jewish Museum, Darlinghurst
Tickets on sale from 21st February 2014
Visit the official website at: http://www.jiff.com.au/hfs