Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jason goes to Jewfest--Sunday, August 7

That's it, it's over. Or it was, for me, last Sunday. I'm finally writing this on Thursday. But in fairness I've been in Cleveland, and there'

The last two movies, both excellent, fascinating documentaries:

First, PRECIOUS LIFE by journalist Shlomi Eldar. Shlomi had covered Gaza up until Hamas came to power and Gaza was essentially closed. One of the few remaining connections to Gaza are the hospitals--if a Palestinian in Gaza is sick enough, they will let him through to an Israeli hospital on humanitarian grounds. And that's how he met Mohammad, an immune-compromised infant whose desperate mother takes him to the hospital and tries to raise money for a bone marrow transplant. Shlomi goes on TV with the story and a mysterious anonymous donor offers up all the money needed. Now they just need to find a matching donor. None of Mohammad's siblings are a match, so they have to try to get cousins into Israel, which is no easy feat. There's a really moving comparison with the efforts to save one baby and the military operations that destroy so many people. It's a powerful reminder that when you look into innocent, dying eyes you can't help but see how precious life it. At the same time, conversations about martyrdom, and the family's struggle with scorn back in Gaza underscore how little we truly understand each other.

And finally, I ended with EICHMANN'S END: LOVE, BETRAYAL, DEATH, a fascinating documentary that relies very heavily on historical reenactment (note: some would say that makes it some sort of hybrid drama with documentary elements. I have no problem calling this a documentary). After WWII, Holocaust architect and war criminal Adolf Eichmann escaped to Argentina. In 1960 Mossad agents "tracked him down" and brought him to justice. But there's a really weird, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story behind all that. It's the story of Lothar Hermann, a blind Jewish Holocaust survivor determined to track down all Nazi criminals and particularly Eichmann. It's the story of his daughter Silvia. And it's the story of the young man she falls for--Nick Eichmann, Adolf's son. And it's also the story of dogged prosecutors and political players who would rather bury the past. And it's a story of Eichmann himself and his damning interviews with a journalist writing a book on him (wherein he expresses wishes that he had finished the job of the Holocaust). But the emotional core really is Silvia and her conflict and courage in betraying Nick to bring his father to justice. And that's just an amazing, fascinating, gripping story.

And that's it. It's over. Bring on the next festival...

Total Running Time: 176 minutes
My Total Minutes: 246,576

1 comment:

Adam & Nick said...

Next Festival... Atheist at Roxie featuring a new film by Director, Matthew Chapman.

True fact: Matthew Chapman is Charles Darwin's Great-Great-Grandson. I shit you not.

I have to work that day, but plan on sneaking out to at least check out one of the films. Wish I could be there for all of them but have to make the green somehow. See you there hopefully.