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.
The filmmaker is Dutch journalist and historian Bianca Stigter, who brought to life traces of the Second World War in Amsterdam in her book Atlas van een bezette stad (”Atlas of an Occupied City,” 2019). The narration is by actress Helena Bonham Carter.
Nominated for the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award