Virtual Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Online
Boca Raton, FL 33427

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Schedule:

Last Picture Show In Bucharest

The French newspaper "Le Monde" published an article from its archives – “50 years ago”. The article related how in 1956 an Israeli Military Tribunal judged a sailor for desertion from the Israeli Navy. The sailor, a Rumanian immigrant to Israel, had been drafted in 1953 and had jumped ship a year later, when his warship was visiting an Italian harbor. The deserter returned to Israel 846 days later, reported back for duty, was arrested and tried.

In court he had a chance to tell his story. the filmmaker found the Military court documents, and in the film 'Last Picture Show In Bucharest', formerly titled "Nelson" they will tell the story of the sailor whose name became Nelson during his amazing journey. For Nelson's is an extraordinary, an exemplary, a mythological story.

The story of a vengeance that spans two decades, that takes a young boy from Rumania via Israel, Italy, France, to Vietnam in the midst of the French Indochina War against the Vietminh ... A story that starts before WW2 breaks out, in the tailor shop of Nelson’s father in Bucharest, his native city where they live in security. But one day in January 1940 the tailor, his wife, daughter, sons, including Nelson, will be taken away by the fascist Iron Guards, during the infamous pogrom of Bucharest. Only Nelson will survive the ensuing slaughter. He will be a witness, at the age of ten, of his father’s murder, by the man who used to be their neighbor in Bucharest, a local commander of the Iron Guard. At age ten, the boy escapes, survives by being hidden by Righteous Rumanians, and swears to avenge his father.

Not being able to find the murderer who has fled the country after the defeat of the fascist powers, young Nelson gets in to a fight with the murderer’s son, injures him, flees, gets caught and is sent to juvenile prison in the very fortress where his father and brothers were murdered … He will only leave prison a hardened adult, and manages to emigrate to Israel, an orphan trying to build a new life in a new country.

Trying to forget the past, he is confronted, almost by accident, with the knowledge of the whereabouts of the man who killed his family. He has no other option then to fulfill the promise he made to himself. He sets out on an impossible mission, through Europe in 1953, penniless, a deserter without a home. And he finds his target. In the French Foreign Legion. He takes on the name 'Tony Nelson' in the Foreign Legion, becomes an outstanding fighter, a volunteer paratrooper, and will eventually serve under the command of the very man he is looking for.

In the end, when he has no possible doubt about the man's identity, he will do what he has come to do, what he swore he would do as a ten year old boy, what he could not escape from doing.

A raw and disturbing story of vengeance and justice.

LAST PICTURE SHOW IN BUCHAREST is a film about a theme as old as the world: revenge.

But unlike, say, the story of Edmond Dantès in Dumas’s Count of Monte Cristo, the story of Eliahu Berkovitch, also known as Tony Nelson, is cut in the tragic cloth of life itself. It’s a true story. Apart from the talent of the actors and the efficacy of the direction, it is he knowledge that we are dealing with people in the flesh that makes it so powerful.

Cost: $12

Who Will Remain?

Attempting to better understand her grandfather Avrom Sutzkever, Israeli actress Hadas Kalderon travels to Lithuania, using her grandfather’s diary to trace his early life in Vilna and his survival of the Holocaust. Sutzkever (1913–2010) was an acclaimed Yiddish poet—described by the New York Times as the “greatest poet of the Holocaust”—whose verse drew on his youth in Siberia and Vilna, his spiritual and material resistance during World War II, and his post-war life in the State of Israel. Kalderon, whose native language is Hebrew and must rely on translation of her grandfather’s work, is nevertheless determined to connect with what remains of the poet’s bygone world and confront the personal responsibility of preserving her grandfather’s literary legacy. Woven into the documentary are family home videos, newly recorded interviews, and archival recordings, including Sutzkever’s testimony at the Nuremberg Trial. Recitation of his poetry and personal reflections on resisting Nazi forces as a partisan fighter reveal how Sutzkever tried to make sense of the Holocaust and its aftermath. As Kalderon strives to reconstruct the stories told by her grandfather, the film examines the limits of language, geography, and time.

Cost: $10

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