Film » Film Features

Opening: The Flat


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When Israeli documentary filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger’s 98-year-old grandmother Gerda died, his family was left to sort through the Tel Aviv flat she lived in for 70 years. Filled with European collectibles and German-language books, the apartment reflected his grandparents’ lifelong attachment to their native Germany. Goldfinger is shocked to discover photographs, letters and other evidence of his grandparents’ 1930s friendship with a prominent Nazi S.S. official, Leopold von Mildenstein, and his wife. The couples traveled together and corresponded for years, even after WWII and the concentration-camp death of Gerda’s mother. Goldfinger embarks on a journey to discover the meaning of his Jewish grandparents’ involvement with a Nazi. He travels to Germany to question (rather aggressively at times) von Mildenstein’s daughter, bringing along his mother Hannah, a member of a second generation that didn’t ask questions about the past. Goldfinger’s investigation uncovers some interesting history about the connection between Zionists and Nazis — they shared a“mutual interest” in the ’30s in removing Jews to Palestine. But the film misses the chance to fully explore that context, focusing more on Goldfinger’s ill-defined personal quest. In his questioning of witnesses, Goldfinger is often obtuse, displaying an unwillingness to understand the nuances and social ironies of the wartime era. Cedar Lee Theatre.

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