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Farewell, Herr Schwarz

2013 DOK Leipzig, German Competition Documentary Film
Germany, Israel | 2013 | 96 min. | English, German, Hebrew | English subtitles | German Premiere
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Farewell, Herr Schwarz | Schnee von gestern

A young Israeli woman moves to Germany. “To the Diaspora!” her horrified parents exclaim, to the place where most of her relatives died in the Holocaust. But as a representative of the third generation, Yael Reuveny insists on her right to move without prejudice to a city that’s hip, and not just among Israelis. But she’s wrong. The past is hard on her heels. In Schlieben, a nondescript small town in Brandenburg, she comes across clues that lead to her grandmother’s brother, long believed lost. In a thoughtful, intricately interwoven montage that keeps circling the sore spots of her family history Reuveny shows how Feiv’ke first became Feiwusch and ultimately Peter Schwarz. The director tentatively interviews three generations, both in the land of the perpetrators and the land of the victims, running through the various points of view of the difficult discussion about reconciliation. Could it be that suppression is a necessary prerequisite of reconciliation? Feiv’ke did not go to Israel after the war. Of all places, he chose to live in the town where he had been a prisoner in a concentration camp. The barracks were unceremoniously converted and former guards became neighbours, even football mates, as a photo proves. They didn’t talk about the past but rolled up their sleeves to build a “better Germany”. There are still many questions, but perhaps it’s a good thing they weren’t asked before.

Cornelia Klauß
Original Title: Schnee von gestern
Country: Germany, Israel
Year: 2013
Language: English, German, Hebrew
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 96 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Yael Reuveny
Producer: Melanie Andernach (Made in Germany Filmproduktion GmbH), Saar Yogev, Naomi Levari (Black Sheep Film Prod.LTD)
Cinematographer: Andreas Köhler
Editor: Nicole Kortlüke, Assaf Lapid
Music: Volker Bertelmann
Sound: Cesar Fernandez Borras, Alfred Tesler, Nilly Kalmar, Idan Shemesh, Dovilas Meilus
Script: Yael Reuveny
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.