JIFF Media Release
Provocative, Insightful and Utterly Compelling…
HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES returns for 2016
Following its critically acclaimed 2014 and 2015 seasons, the HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES, presented
by JIFF, will return to Melbourne and Sydney from 30 April until 11 May.
This boldly themed cinematic event will present a fascinating and diverse selection of 30
premiere feature films and documentaries exploring events, issues and personal recollections of
one of recent history’s most defining episodes which brought forth the darkest, yet also the most
noble aspects of mankind.
Illustrating the global impact and myriad of stories ignited by the Holocaust, as searingly relevant
today as when they occurred over seven decades ago, this year’s line-up will encompass films
from 15 countries including Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Israel, Japan, Sweden and United
Kingdom, each with a distinct voice and engrossing tale to recount.
Included will be such gems as acclaimed director Atom Egoyan’s latest feature, Remember,
starring Academy Award© winning actors Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau. This
dramatic thriller follows Zev (Plummer), an Auschwitz survivor who despite the onset of
dementia, embarks upon a mission of revenge, with the help of his best friend Max (Landau).
The drama, Persona Non Grata tells the true story of Chiune Sugihara, often referred to as
‘Japan’s Schindler’ who, in 1940 as Vice-Consul of the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania,
issued 2,000 visas to Jewish refugees, effectively saving the lives of 6,000 people.
Winner of the revered Award of Ecumenical Jury at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
and voted Best Picture and Best Ukrainian Film at the Odessa International Film Festival, Song of
Songs, based on the folklore of famed Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, offers an inspired vision
of the lost world of the Jewish Shtetl circa 1900, as seen through the eyes of a spirited young boy
in love with a girl destined for another.
Drawing Against Oblivion, the New York Festival Gold Medal winning documentary, showcases
the charcoal drawings of Austrian artist Michael Bockelmann, whose passion and artistry has
given new life to the memory of countless children who perished during the Holocaust. One of
these poignant drawings will also be displayed in the foyer of the Classic Cinema, the Festival’s
Melbourne venue, throughout the season.
The incredible 12-year journey undertaken by iconic French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann, in
creating his epic documentary Shoah, is examined in Academy Award© nominated Claude
Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, a gripping exploration of a man who despite countless
setbacks and frequently fraught circumstances, refused to abandon his quest to create an
unflinching account of the Holocaust.
Additional highlights of the 2016 HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES include:
A NAZI LEGACY: WHAT OUR FATHERS DID (UK/Documentary)
A tense, riveting documentary in which a Jewish human rights lawyer confronts the 2 sons of high
ranking Nazi officials who bear witness to their father’s actions, their guilt and implicitness in the
Nazi regime. Both grapple with the cold, hard truth in starkly different ways, one excusing and
the other abhorring. Delving into the family life of high-ranking SS officials and giving insight into
the cultured, enlightened and educated Germany of the 40s, this is a moving reminder of the long
lasting and far reaching effects of trauma for all involved.
BEYOND PARANOIA: EAST AND WEST, THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM (Israel/Documentary)
Using richly layered interviews with Jewish writers, academics and journalists, renowned
Australian filmmaker, Monique Schwartz, explores the worldwide history of anti-Semitism,
exposing sinister new variations of this age-old hatred, which still exists in modern society.
THE CABARET OF DEATH (Poland/Documentary)
In concentration camps and ghettos across Europe, Jewish artists fought for survival using the
only weapons available to them – humour, music and theatre. In a series of staged episodes and
true reconstruction of facts, this documentary shows how music and sketches became weapons
in the battle for life, as Jews fought against Nazi repression and monstrosity.
Gitel is a successful violinist living in 1969 Soviet Union. To outsiders, this attractive, intelligent and
witty young woman seems to ‘have it all.’ But preparing to celebrate her 33rd birthday – Gitel, a
Holocaust survivor, is racked with guilt for simply being alive. Haunted by memories of the past
and by the ghosts of her two sisters, who perished in the camps, she struggles to live in the
present and finds it impossible to embrace the future.
HITLER’S MEIN KAMPF: A DANGEROUS BOOK (Germany/Documentary)
This documentary examines the provocative publication and circulation of Mein Kampf, which
now, 70 years after the death of its author, Adolf Hitler, has entered the public domain, raising
the question of how such a divisive and inflammatory document should be treated.
KAPO IN JERUSALEM (Israel/Feature)
Inspired by the life of Eliezer Grinbaum, who was a Kapo in Auschwitz from 1942-1945, this drama
follows Bruno, a doctor, and Sarah, a pianist, who arrive in 1945 Jerusalem seeking a fresh start.
But as rumours swirl about Bruno’s past as a sadistic Kapo, they find themselves struggling for
their lives amidst the damnation of his reputation.
THE SINGING ABORTIONIST (Canada/Documentary)
Holocaust survivor. Womanizer. Pro-choice crusader, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who passed away
in 2013, was often referred to as the most hated and beloved man in Canada. This is the
deconstruction of the man behind the cause, which explores how surviving Nazi Germany played
a profound impact in sculpting Henry’s activism in the pro-choice moment, leading him to believe
that “just because something is the law, does not mean that it’s just.”
SUMMER SOLSTICE (Poland/Feature)
Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Montreal World Film Festival, this complex and
provocative drama delivers a vivid portrait of 1943 provincial Poland through the lives of four
characters; a Polish villager, a German soldier, a Jewish escapee and the daughter of a
SURVIVING SKOKIE (USA/Documentary)
Since surviving the atrocities of the Holocaust and emigrating to America, Eli Adler has left the
past behind. For decades he has repressed his awful memories, keeping them secret even from
his children. But when, in the 1970s, a band of neo-Nazi thugs threaten to march in his new
home, the quiet village of Slokie, Illinois, “because that is where the Jews are”, Eli decides that
the time has come to end his silence.
The 2016 HOLOCAUST FILM SERIES will screen from 30 April until 11 May at:
MELBOURNE: Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
SYDNEY: Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction
WEBSITE LIVE & TICKETS ON SALE FROM 4 APRIL 2016
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Sue Ristovski: Marketing Manager
The Classic. The Cameo. The Lido. JIFF
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