Ukraine, June 21st, 1941. Mendele, meanwhile a film director in Kyiv, is on a visit to his hometown, a shtetl not far from Sokal, Galicia, which belonged to Poland until September 1939, at which point it was annexed by Stalin’s Soviet Union. In the provincial town, where Soviet officers now openly conduct propaganda and orthodox and secular residents are, as ever, at odds many, including the local rabbi, resent him for having left. With only a few hours remaining until Shabbos, Mendele needs to visit his father Shloime and see his one-time bride-to-be Yuna, the latter soon to marry to his arch-rival Folye. All the while, German tanks lurk on the other side of the river... This masterful debut production from director Ady Walter's, shot primarily in black and white and in Yiddish and Ukrainian, vividly describes, with its lively scenes of shtetl life, an eastern European/Jewish world that today no longer exists. To exemplify this gaping void, the filmmakers dropped the "E" from the film's title. This Ukrainian-French co-production involved the construction of an entire shtetl built not far from Kyiv, inclusive of a consecrated synagogue which was to serve as a museum after filming. And yet, in a very bitter irony of history, it was destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Text: Kira Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby
- 18.06.2023 Filmtheater Union Fürstenwalde at 19:00