Keeping a close watch

Holocaust Remembrance Day is being marked with special film programs at Israel’s cinematheques.

patriot 311 (photo credit: .)
patriot 311
(photo credit: .)
On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, innovative film programs will showcase some little-known aspects of the history of that period.
You might not expect a night of animated films marking the Holocaust, but at the Jerusalem Cinematheque at 8 p.m., there will be just such a program. Ever since Art Spiegelman published his prize-winning graphic novel, Maus (and its sequel) in the ’90s, the rules for works of art dealing with the Holocaust have changed. Ari Folman’s animated documentary, Waltz with Bashir, was also notable – although it wasn’t about the Holocaust – for using a medium associated with children’s entertainment to bring a serious and tragic subject to life.
The evening will feature nine award-winning animated short films, some of which deal directly with the Holocaust while others grapple with oppression, persecution and totalitarianism without explicitly mentioning Nazism. Avi Sabag, the founder and director of the Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music School (aka the Musrara School), will introduce this program, while Dr. Ben Baruch Blich will speak on the topic, “The Shoah Through the Eyes of Comics.”
At 6 p.m., The Cinematheque will screen Michal Ohayon’s prize-winning documentary Steal a Pencil for Me (2007). This original and psychologically acute film tells the story of a love triangle that played out against a backdrop of war and suffering. Jacob and Manja Pollack were Jews living in Amsterdam in the early ’40s whose marriage was falling apart. Jacob met another woman, Ina, whom he loved, but then he and his wife were deported to the Westerbork camp by the Nazis, and were shocked when Ina turned up there a few months later. How Ina and Jacob carried on a clandestine love affair of sorts in that setting is the story of this film. Following the screening, there will be a discussion moderated by AMCHA, the National Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Survivors of the Holocaust and the Second Generation.
THE CINEMATHEQUE is also screening the recent documentary Killing Kasztner, directed by Gaylen Ross, at 7 p.m. This extensively researched film looks at how the events of the Holocaust reverberated throughout the early days of the State of Israel. A journalist, Israel Kasztner, was assassinated in Tel Aviv in the early ’50s by a member of a fringe group because of his attempts to negotiate with the Nazis to save Hungarian Jews during the war, efforts that were seen by some as a collaboration with the German regime. Kasztner’s granddaughter, journalist Merav Michaeli, participates in the film.
Entrance is free to all of Sunday night’s Holocaust-themed programs at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
At the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the film Yorek, by Yaron Gurevich, which had its premiere on Friday in the presence of such dignitaries as Professors Hanoch Lavi and Chava Tidhar, both of Kinneret College, and Rabbi Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv. It tells the story of David (Yorek) Plonski, a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto and the father of Eitan Plonski, who was killed in the Yom Kippur War. It features a journey Yorek made late in life back to Poland. The film will also be screened Sunday night on Channel 10.
Berlin 36, which tells of oneof the cases in which Nazi politics marred the 1936 Olympic games, willbe shown at several venues in the coming week. Directed by KasparHeidelbach, it tells how the US pressured the German government toallow Jews to compete for Germany on their national team. Thegovernment grudgingly allowed champion high-jumper Gretel Bergmann, aJew, to join the team, but fostered a rivalry between her and herteammate, Marie Ketteler. In the end, Bergmann was not allowed tocompete, but she forged a life-long friendship with Ketteler. Berlin 36will be screened at the Haifa Cinematheque on Saturday at 5 p.m. and onMonday at 9:30 p.m.; the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Sunday at 5 p.m. and7 p.m., the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Monday at 9:30 p.m.; and theJerusalem Theater on Tuesday at 7 p.m.