2022 Film Series: Polish Palimpsest

Fall 2022 6:30pm
Social Hall, Jewish Community Campus

Film footage from a long-ago vacation, interviews conducted to find lost Jewish graves, Nazi propaganda, and YouTube videos of young Israelis. All the films in this year’s series were constructed from footage originally shot for another purpose. This repurposing creates a layered experience through which much is revealed.

Define: Palimpsest
Something having usually
diverse layers or aspects
apparent beneath the surface

I Remember – August 31st

I Remember depicts a historical, elegiac fresco about Jews living in small towns of provincial Poland before World War II. The last living witnesses remember not only the joint life of Polish and Jewish communities but also the cruel time of the war. In their accounts, they mention both the cases of hiding their neighbors and handing them over to the Nazi perpetrators. (68 minutes)

Three Minutes: A Lengthening – September 21 – Special Theatrical Screening

In a found holiday film from 1938, the Jewish inhabitants of a small Polish village crowd in front of the camera. The grim, inevitable reality is that hardly any of them survived the Holocaust. In this quest for answers, the three-minute color film is closely analyzed by repeating it over and over. Who are the people who appear before the camera? What do the grainy letters above the store say? By zooming in, showing the footage frame by frame or enlarging details, the end of the film is constantly postponed — and with it the fate of the villagers. Off camera, a survivor and a descendant talk about the village and its inhabitants, remembering these lives to create a moving cinematic monument. (69 minutes)

#uploading_holocaust – October 19

Thousands of young Israelis join “the journey to Poland” each year to learn about the Holocaust. Looking into the journey through the videos they upload on YouTube reveals a moving and troubling image about the way the collective memory is formed in the web age. It offers a fascinating look into how memory and trauma are processed by new generations. (75 minutes)

A Film Unfinished – November 16

This film seeks the truth behind one of the most mysterious Nazi propaganda films ever shot inside the Warsaw ghetto. A rough draft of a silent film juxtaposes meticulously staged scenes of Jews enjoying a life of luxury in the ghetto with other chilling images that required no staging at all. Ironically, after the war, filmmakers and museums used bits and pieces from the film as objective, general illustrations of the narratives collected from survivors and written documents. Few people were aware of the cynical manner in which these images were created and the true, yet inconceivable witness they bear. By juxtaposing the filmed scenes with its behind-the-scenes’ layered reality, A Film Unfinished shakes our uncritical trust in the photographic image and the way we perceive the historical past. (88 minutes)

2022 Series Patrons

  • Lowenstein Family Supporting Foundation
  • Polsky Family Charitable Foundation

To help defray costs of licensing fees and publicity, MCHE invites sponsorships of $150 for individual films and full series sponsorships of $500 (Supporter) and $1,000 (Patron). Those interested may make their commitments via PayPal, by mail, or by calling MCHE at 913-327-8192. Individual donations are appreciated.

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