WJFF SHORTS PROGRAM: Our Space In Time
Jewish Short Films from the the Visegrád countries
dir. Jenő Hódi, Ivana Kadlečíková, Emilia Śniegoska, Tamara Mozyes, Shlomi Yaffe, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Rep., 2014-2022, 80min
The special project "Our Space in Time" aims to promote the shared heritage and numerous cultural ties between the Jewish communities of the Visegrád countries. This selection of four short films from Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia brings the spotlight to valuable works of Jewish-themed filmmaking across the region from the past years. The variety of films also reflects the different realities of Jewish life and also the interconnections between places and times. "Our Space in Time" begins with a reminiscent from a horrible past within a puzzling narrative; followed by a theatrical and creative expression of the actual questions of Jewish identity; and an encounter of two generations into a troubled but hopeful present; and closes with a look of emergency into today’s events of hatred, brutality, and the prejudice that fuels it. The shorts program shows the shared challenges of a region.
The program is organized by JCC Budapest - Bálint Ház (Hungary) in partnership with The Camera of David Foundation WJFF (Poland), JCC Prague (Czech Republic), and TACHLES TV (Slovakia).
This program is funded by The International Visegrad Fund with additional support from Friends of JCC Budapest and the Thalheimer Family, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund.
We also thank the cooperation of the Gólem Jewish Theatre Budapest, Kolnoa – Israeli Film Festival Prague, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The films in the program:
Hungary - Hagyaték [Legacy] (2020, 24 min)
Director: Jenő Hódi
Screenplay: Jenő Hódi, Árpád Hermán
Producers: Jenő Hódi, Gábor Ferenczy
Director of Photography: Balázs Dobóczi
Editor: Mátyás S. Encsy
Music: Arthur Valentin Grósz
Production Company: Cinepartners Entertainment, FocusFox
Cast: Ági Gubík, Tibor Szervét, Miklós Székely B.
During the Holocaust thousands of Hungarian Jews were executed by the Danube. This tragedy brought out the worst in some people, but also the best in others. A brave few rose up to resist. The film honors these heroes. The film is based on Ambrose Bierce’s renowned “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” novel – which takes place during the American Civil War – into a historical setting in Hungary. Visually the film shows the war-torn Budapest in 1944, in black and white, Film Noir style. This adaptation gives new context to the original story. While in the original novel there is no emotional connection between the lead character and the reader, this movie has a captivating and charismatic female lead, who is trying to repair the sins of her father, a war criminal, by saving Jewish children from certain death.
Czech Republic - Polish Bourekas (2014, 13 min)
Directors, Screenplay, Editors: Tamara Mozyes, Shlomi Yaffe
Animation: Vilem Novak
Producers: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw
Director of Photography: Barbara Kaja Kaniewska
Music: Giora Kukui
Cast: Sylwia Nahaj, Henryk Rajfer, Kobi Wietzner
Tamara Moyzes and Shlomi Yaffe often refer in their works to contemporary cultural stereotypes and track down their traces in visual culture and in language. They point to the ways in which we perceive the others and discuss the meaning of civic belonging, often on the basis of their own experience of being foreigners. The duo has based the project carried out as part of the Polin museum residence on the pre-war Warsaw Yiddish theatres and on the features of the Israeli film genre called bourekas which was popular back in the 1960s and the 1970s.
The work relies on two aesthetic foundations – literature and theatre, as well as films – to create a series of three short films using 3D face animation technologies. The films by this duo tell us the stories of life of contemporary Israeli figures, shown with the help of animated scenes. The protagonists of the films are: Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, Mordechai Vanunu, and Tali Fahima. Historical events in which these figures participated are for Moyzes and Yaffe a point of departure to tackle the notion of stereotypes and identity myths.
Poland - 19|91 (2019, 25 min)
Director, Screenplay: Emilia Śniegoska
Director of Photography: Ewa Radzewicz
Editor: Anna Gontarczyk
Production Company: Studio Munka
with: Zofia Prejzner, Jette Helberg
“19|91” is a quiet and modest story of meeting between a 19-year-old Jette from Germany and 91-year-old Pole - Mrs Zofia. During Jette’s one year annual voluntary service in Warsaw she regularly visits Mrs Zofia, who spent her teenage years in concentration camp in Auschwitz and in Ravensbrück.
Slovakia - Milosť [Mercy] (2022, 18 min)
Director, Screenplay, Animation: Ivana Kadlečíková
Producers: Ivana Laučíková
Director of Photography: Peter Balcar
Editor: František Krähenbiel
Music: Slavo Solovic
Production Company: feel me film s.r.o.
Cast: Broňa Schraggeová, Jozef Košík, Ján Humaj, Jakub Šulík, Peter Markovski
Voices: Dominika Morávková, Ivan Martinka, Jozef Košík, Stano Štofčík
How shall we, the people of a country with a strong Christian tradition, respond when brute force attacks the innocent? The short story, loosely inspired by a real event from 2006, is told through a mixture of pixilation and drawn animation. Director Ivana Laučíková has aroused an international response with her anti-war film The Last Bus (2011). Now she is searching for the roots of humanism again.