Not quite just another Holocaust documentary, Arnon Goldfinger’s The Flat is a personal yet quite relatable film in which the filmmaker investigates an untold story of a friendship between a Nazi and a Jewish couple, before during and following World War II. The woman in that couple is Goldfinger’s grandmother, who has just died in Israel, and her family is content with clearing out her apartment (or flat) without close inspection of what might be found there.
I talked with Goldfinger last week about his fascinating film, which can speak to anyone curious about their ancestry or heritage, as well as on the significance of the remnants of our lives and the strange tendency for some Jewish people to wish to forget or ignore the details of WWII and the Holocaust. Read our conversation below.
DOC Channel Blog: It’s interesting to see a film where the post-war generation Germans are the ones more interested in talking about the past, while the Jewish people of that generation are the ones ignoring what happened. Were you as surprised to see your family so uninterested in the heritage and history and okay with just throwing everything away?
Arnon Goldfinger: This film presents something new. On the one hand, when you are thinking about the German second generation, maybe they didn’t ask questions because who wants to know his father was a Nazi or criminal? It makes sense. On the other hand, with the tendency not to ask questions about the past from the Israeli side — let’s not say the Israeli side but the victims’ side — I think it is very surprising. It’s not an unknown phenomenon; just nobody’s really shown it.
In the beginning it surprised me even more, because during the making of the film I understood how much I was part of this behavior, how much I did not ask questions before. But when you think about it, I may say, it’s even more interesting to try to understand the second generation of the victims’ side and the victims themselves. The first generation just didn’t speak about it. Of course, this is one of the most burning questions in the film.
The film may not be, as I said, a psychological or historical essay, but a moving picture to invoke some thoughts and emotions.
When MTV use to air animated awesomeness… and music videos.
2012 Big Apple Film Festival, November 14-18, is proud to present Ex-Girlfriends starring Jennifer Carpenter(Dexter, Quarantine, Exorcism of Emily Rose). For info and tickets go to www.bigapplefilmfestival.com
Earlier this year, filmmaker Michael Moore, in his role as a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors, helped revise the qualification rules for the Oscar for Best Feature Documentary. These changes, which included a much-talked-about requirement for a film to be reviewed by the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times, was partly aimed at lowering the amount of eligible films and promoting docs made primarily for theatrical distribution rather than television. Alterations to the voting process were also made to keep popular works like Steve James’s The Interrupters from being snubbed too easily.
Now, because of the admitted failure for at least the first part of the goal (more than 130 films have qualified and have been distributed in screener form to 170 doc branch members), Moore has come out with another plan, which he told The Wrap:
“What I’m going to propose is that instead of going back to the drawing board and making up new rules, let’s just put an end to that right now. No more special documentary rules. How about we play by the same rules as every other branch?”
Scream 4 (2011)
Alfred Hitchcock and Janet Leigh on-set of Psycho (1960)
9th Annual Big Apple Film Festival, taking place November 14-18 at Tribeca Cinemas, is proud to present our honorary Golden Apple Award to Academy Award nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.
The first time I saw this week’s home video recommendation, Kati With an I, was about two years ago. The film was in the Viewfinders competition at the inaugural DOC NYC Documentary Festival, and I was on the jury for this particular program. It didn’t end up being the film we collectively chose to win the award (that was Windfall, which I also highly advise you see), but I think I can admit it was a personal favorite of mine and has stuck in my memory the most vividly.
The next stop for Kati in my work was when I named it one of the best films of 2010 to watch for (basically a highlight of the best undistributed and festival-only works of the year). Then, I was able to review it in early 2011 during an unofficial first theatrical run in New York, and again I wrote excitedly one year ago when Icarus Films announced it would distribute the doc. At the end of last year, I included it on my list of the 20 best of 2011. You might be able to tell, but just in case you don’t: I really love this movie.
by Edward Montgomery
Chances are, you have not seen this film. Please, please, please try to change that.
The Passion of Joan of Arc has stayed with me, simmered with me, for over a month by this point. I knew of its legend. I knew of its praise. I knew that Marie…
Great 20 minute horror flick, “Terrifier” on Big Apple Film Festival on Demand. Watch it free http://www.bigapplefilmfestival.com/baffod-terrifier.html