"If I had shown emotions in front of Josef Mengele in the camp, I probably would not have survived" says 90-year-old Shoah survivor Daniel Chanoch. He remembers exactly his survival stations, smells or songs and the German mass murderers. Impressive testimony of a great narrator.
The Austrian filmmakers Christian Krones and Florian Weigensamer filmed Daniel Chanoch in black and white, in almost only two shots. His accounts are interspersed with fragments of German, Soviet and American propaganda newsreels as well as footage from the 1961 Eichmann trial. The result is an intricate cinematic collage centered around a fascinating protagonist and wonderful storyteller.
When 90-year-old Daniel Chanoch recalls the past, words and sentences in German, Russian or Italian are interwoven into the interview, itself conducted in English. Born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1932, he there experienced the invasion of the Red Army. Quite subjectively, Chanoch describes how he adored the Soviet soldiers, and especially their many medals. The Germans came just a year after the Soviet occupation. At first, they watched on as a Lithuanian mob carried out the first anti-Jewish pogroms; later, they themselves mercilessly murdered the Jewish civilian population. Eight-year-old Daniel was deported from Kaunas to Auschwitz. There he meets the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele, who presents him to the Red Cross as a "model patient". Daniel later survived the cruel Gunskirchen concentration camp in Austria. As if by miracle, after his liberation he meets his brother.
Text: Jörg Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby
original title A Boy's Life
international title A Boy's Life
german title A Boy's Life
JFBB section KINO FERMISHED
duration 96 min
BIO Christian Krönes: during his film and directing studies he was able to accompany and work alongside the legendary DOPs, Vittorio Storaro und Sven Nykvist. In 1985 he joined the Austrian Television and directed a variety of TV formats. In 1990, Christian Krönes started his work for major German broadcasting companies as well as setting up a media agency in Vienna. His work as a consultant and freelance producer allowed him to engage with renowned film production companies. Work on a film project with Sir Peter Ustinov, soon developed into a deep friendship and resulted in years of artistic collaboration for TV and stage productions. Sir Peter Ustinov’s wish for Christian Krönes to work for the Ustinov Foundation was soon accepted and so he became the personal advisor and manager for Sir Peter Ustinov up until his death in 2004. In 2006, Christian Krönes formed Blackbox Film and with over 30 years of experience in the film branch is now active as managing director and producer.
BIO After his studies of Political Science and Communication Science at the University of Vienna Florian gained first journalistic and writing experience at Austrian's foremost news magazine „profil“. 1995 he joins the editorial team of Vienna News International where he directed and designed numerous reports and documentaries for European broadcasters. Later on, together with Christian Krönes, he exclusively produced and directed political and social reports and documentaries from Mid/Eastern Europe and Asia for arte. At the same time he worked on film and multimedia content for museums and exhibitions. After collaborating with various artists in different media in San Francisco for more than a year he became founding member, author and director of the Blackbox-Collective in 2006.