UK Jewish Film Festival 2009






The Passenger (Pasazerka)

Dir Andrzej Munk | Poland |1963 | 62 mins | Polish with English subtitles

Sat 14/11/2009 - 20:40   Barbican Centre

Box Office: 0845 1207 500

The final film by Andrzej Munk, one of the masters of 1960s Polish cinema, has long been regarded as a cinematic masterpiece and acclaimed as one of the most important Holocaust films ever made. On a cruise ship following World War Two, a death camp survivor comes face to face with the female Nazi guard who tormented her. This chance encounter, retold in a series of flashbacks, leads to a psychological duel between perpetrator and victim, revealing subtleties in their complex relationship and finding an unexpected spark of resistance. The Passenger is even more remarkable considering that the director, Andrzej Munk, died during shooting, leaving reels of footage that were carefully edited together after his death, with strikingly original results.


The Last Pictures

Dir Andrzej Brzozowski | Poland | 2000 | 45 mins | Polish with English subtitles

A rare chance to see a documentary about the making of The Passenger, made by Munk?s assistant director at the time, Andrzej Brzozowski. Featuring acclaimed directors Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski alongside startling testimony from crew and cast members who lived inside the abandoned Auschwitz during filming, it is a remarkable document of one director?s determination to uncover the ghosts of his country?s past.

A part of


This event is proudly supported by the Adam Mickiwicz Institute, as part of Polska! Year 2009-2010. Jewish programming during Polska! Year is coordinated by the Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow.With the kind support of the Polish Cultural Institute, London.


Dir Jolanta Dylewska | Poland/Germany | 2008 | 82 mins | Polish with English subtitles

Mon 09/11/2009 - 21:00   Odeon Swiss Cottage

Box Office: 0870 066 4777

In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, three million Jews lived in Poland ? amounting to 10 per cent of the population. That lost world is re-created in this beautifully crafted documentary. A succession of elderly Polish men and women remember Jewish friends and neighbours, and a time when Jewish midwives and Jewish history teachers were at the heart of Polish communities.

Archive footage has been culled from all over the world. In the 1930s, many Polish Jews who had emigrated to America returned to visit their homeland, bringing amateur movie cameras.These fragile black and white images of peasant markets and water-carriers have been skilfully assembled by Polish director Jolanta Dylewska, and set to a haunting klezmer-inflected score.This evocation of a land of Tzadiks and Mikvahs adds up to a memorable record of a world that would be utterly destroyed in the Holocaust.

The screening will be introduced by Paul Kriwaczek, a writer, producer and director; author of the award-winning book, Yiddish Civilisation - the Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation.

A part of


This event is proudly supported by the Adam Mickiwicz Institute, as part of Polska! Year 2009-2010. Jewish programming during Polska! Year is coordinated by the Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow.With the kind support of the Polish Cultural Institute, London.

Valentina's Mother

Dirs Matti Harari and Arik Lubetzky | Israel| 2008 | 75 mins | Polish and Hebrew with English subtitles

Tue 10/11/2009 - 21:10   Odeon Swiss Cottage

Tue 17/11/2009 - 18:45   Odeon Swiss Cottage

Box Office: 0870 066 4777

Paula, an elderly Holocaust survivor living in Tel Aviv, resists her only son?s attempts to find her a live-in help. Yet, when a local priest introduces her to Valentina, a young Polish woman, she hires her immediately. Despite evidence that Valentina is not as innocent as she claims, Paula develops an emotional dependence on her, primarily because she shares a name with Paula?s long lost childhood friend. Slowly the past and present blur as repressed memories of the Holocaust surface and overwhelm her. The complex relationship between the two women builds towards a shocking climax.

This powerful film, based on a novella by Israeli second-generation author Savyon Liebrecht, is a sophisticated exploration of Holocaust trauma, memory and revenge. Superb acting and claustrophobic cinematography make it truly unforgettable.

Screening with:

Together Alone

Dir. Lucy Kaye | UK | 2008 | 28 mins | English

Whilst life is often lonely for people in their 90s, there?s plenty of room in this film of the last Jews living in London?s East End for humor, optimism and beautiful memories. Lily, Cyril, Rose, Hannah and Bleemar may live alone, but once in a while they overcome their isolation and join the rest of their community to let their hair down.

The director Lucy Kaye will introduce the screening of her short film.

Spring 41

Dir Uri Barbash | Israel/Poland | 2008 | 122 mins | English

Starring Joseph Fiennes and Claire Higgins

Sat 14/11/2009 - 20:30   Reel Borehamwood

Box Office: 01509 221 155

Based on the writings by Ida Fink, Spring 41 tells the story of Clara Planck (Claire Higgins), a famous virtuoso cellist, returning to Poland 30 years after World War II to visit the places that still haunt her. Once a happy and successful young Jewish family living in Warsaw- Clara, her husband Doctor Artur Planck (Joseph Fiennes) and their young daughter are forced to flee for their lives following the Nazi invasion of Poland. They find refuge at a Polish woman?s remote farm, but a love triangle soon develops between the young adults, making life impossible for them all.

Spring 41 is poignant and devastating story of love, terror, survival and betrayal and a true labour of love for the Oscar- nominated Israeli director Uri Barbash. What makes this powerful historical drama even more remarkable is that it is the first ever Israeli-Polish co-production, perhaps symbolically marking a new era in the historically complex Jewish-Polish relations. 

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