This collection of five different films, each directed by a different director from a different country, offers an eloquent and unforgettable series of interviews with Holocaust survivors, many of them children during the 1940s. In watching these films, one gets the impression that this is a generation of people whose recollections will vanish with them once their lives are over. It feels like a great privilege to hear them speak – even though for many, the words are almost unbearable and the memories too painful to relive. One gets the feeling that some of these recollections have been kept locked in and unspoken for decades. And that this is perhaps a final chance for their release. There is perhaps no way to communicate the tragedy of an event such as the Holocaust unless it is refracted into small slivers of individual lives that touch our sensibilities and make us think and count our blessings.
None of us can imagine the horrors these people witnessed – and the sense of their survival having been a miracle shines through their pain. The fact that they were children or teen-agers at the time makes one marvel at human resilience. It seems incomprehensible that a girl could have crawled out from underneath a pile of bodies in a pit and survived to speak to us today of her experiences and fear. —IMDb
Vojtěch Jasný (Born in Kelč in Moravia November 30, 1925) is a Czech director who came to prominence in the sixties. He won a Cannes Special Jury Prize for Až přijde kocour/The Cassandra Cat (1963).1
An active and influential filmmaker in Czechoslovakia throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he was among many artists and intellectuals who left the country after the USSR-led invasion following the Prague Spring of 1968.
Jasný worked in other European countries for several years including Austria, West Germany and Yugoslavia until relocating to Brooklyn, New York in the early ’80’s. Jasný taught film directing classes at Columbia University for several years (where his compatriot Miloš Forman was also a professor and former Film Division Co-Chair) and continues to teach at The School of Visual Arts (SVA).
Až přijde kocour/The Cassandra Cat, one of Jasny’s most popular films, is an allegorical fable about a magical cat that comes to a small Czech… read more
Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris, in the turbulent times of the Second World War in 1940. After the war, his family returned to Poland. After several years of working as sound editor in the Warsaw Documentary Film Studio, Marcel enrolled at the National Film School in Łódź in 1967. He finished his studies in 1971 (although he only received his degree several years later). In the same year, he made his debut film A Change/Zmiana and Seen from Underneath/Widziane z dołu, joining the ranks of the new generation of Polish directors, such as Tomasz Zygadło, Wojciech Wiszniewski, Paweł Kędzierski and Krzysztof Kieślowski.
As one of the most active and most loud documentarists of the generation, deeply unsatisfied with the situation of growing social paranoia caused by the deepening discrepancy between the reality they experienced and the “reality” that was propagated, he was logically followed by the regime’s watchdogs. His struggle with the censorship, which affected the presenting… read more