Thursday, November 24, 2005

Two Films

This past week-and-a-half I attended some screenings of the Jewish Film Festival. The movies I saw were to me bland and unoriginal, however there were two documentaries that were very impressive and I whole-heartedly recommend you seek out.

HBO's Watermarks tells the story of the Hakoah Vienna Sports Club, specifically the women's swimming team, which were some of the most outstanding sportspeople in history. With the arrival of Hitler and life becoming increasingly humiliating and unbearable, the girls managed to leave and were scattered around the world. This documentary unites them after 65 years, for a swim in their beloved pool in Vienna. The women are magnificent and their stories unmissable.

There is a scene in the film that is jaw-dropping. The women are returning to Vienna. Greta, the formidable diver who emigrated to New Jersey, takes a cab from the airport to her hotel. The cabbie is mid-30s, and they chat about how this is her first time back in more than 60 years. He asks, "so you emigrated 60 years ago?", Greta replies, "yes...well, I was kicked out". Silence. You think the cabbie is uncomfortable. He makes small talk with a nonchalant, "they were hard times". Greta: "yes...it was easier for some people though..." The cabbie chirps up, "but this is not your homeland." Greta smiles and calmly says, "well I was born here, my mother was born here". "But you are a non-native...it was worse for those who were non-natives. Not German". Here is a young man and in this everyday exchange of passenger and cabbie we uncover the hatred is still running through the veins of our modern days.

Rene and I is another documentary that does everything to your emotions in 72 minutes. It sickens you, devastates you, breaks your heart, uplifts your soul. Irene and Rene are young twins living with their family in Czechoslovakia. After their Catholic father is taken away (and murdered by the Nazis) they and their mother are sent to Aushwitz. 'Saved' by the Angel of Death, Josef Mengeles, because they are twins and a particular interest of Mengeles, they are shortly seperated and experimented on. Orphans at the war's end, both are seperately moved around orphanages, families and countries, miraculously reunited in America and grow up with a loving family. Irene and Rene are so remarkable, so kind and intelligent and embracing life like we all believe we should, but don't. They give back so much, when so much was taken away from them.

1 Comments:

Blogger la.dauphine said...

Oh no... that Rene and I played in Atlanta and I missed it! Great film reviews. They both sound like must-see films

2:10 AM  

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