(February 26, 2020 / JNS) The 70th Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, recently featured the world premiere of two digitally restored films about Jews made just after World War II.
The Czech 1949 film “The Distant Journey” tells the story of a young Jewish doctor named Hana in Czechoslovakia who marries her non-Jewish colleague. As such, she winds up not being sent to a concentration camp; however, she is unable to save her parents from deportation. The film shows their persecution and eventual deaths, along with documentary footage.
“The Last Stage” is a 1948 Polish fictional film about female inmates at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who come from various backgrounds. The movie was shot on location, using nonprofessional actors from the area near the camp who speak in their native language in the film. It was based on testimonies of Holocaust survivors, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The original negative of “The Last Stage” did not survive, so a complex restoration process was done by Poland’s National Film Archive in cooperation with Tor Film Production.
The Berlinale, running through March 1, also features recent films about the Holocaust, as well as other Jewish-themed movies, including “Minyan,” “Speer Goes to Hollywood” and “Listening In.”
The opening-night film, Philippe Falardeau’s “My Salinger Year,” centered on the work of legendary Jewish American novelist J.D. Salinger.
In 2019, the Israeli film “Synonyms” won the festival’s top honor, the Golden Bear.
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