ANITA B. – ITALIAN DRAMA – MITTELCINEMAFEST – BUDAPEST – 2014

 

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ANITA B

Indeed an unexpected Holocaust story. A drama of  a girl who finds a form of redemption after the horrors of the concentration camp.

Director: Roberto Faenza, Screenplay: Roberto Faenza – Edith Bruck, Actors: Eline Powell – Robert Sheehan – Antonio Cupo – Nico Mirallegro , Andrea Osvárt

Before the premiere screening cinema award gala took place whereas the  Roberto Faenza, the film’s director received the Mittelcinemafrest Lifetime Achievement  Award. The sculptor was made by István Madarassy , which was handled over by the representative of the Municipality of Budapest. At the gala ceremony was also present. HE Maria Assunta  Accili – Ambassador of Italy to Budapest, HE Ilan Mor – Ambassador of Israel to Budapest and also Director of the Italian Cultural Institution.

The Film is based on the chapters of Edith Bruck’s life who was a Holocaust survivor, held in concentration camps when she was still a child. In 1954 she eventually settled in Italy. In 2009 she published How Many Stars Twinkle in the Sky, which won her the Viareggio Prize.

The film is about Anita B, a Jewish girl of Hungarian origin who has emerged alive from Auschwitz, is taken in after the war by her Monika her surviving aunt. Monika, the thirty year old sister of Anita’s father. Monika, however, does not liked to be called „Aunt” and receives her niece with something less than enthusiasm. Monika lives with her husband Aron with little Roby, their son in a small town int he mountains of Czechoslovakia. Another family member is living with them, the young Eli, Aron’s brother, whose philosophy of life can be summed up as follows: „Men want to unbutton their pants, women think about love”.

In brief  … Sudetenland , the town they live before the war had a large German population. The former inhabitants have been forcibly ejected, their homes taken over by returning prisoners and refugees. There is an air of increasing tension in the place, as the communists prepare to seize power.

To begin with after her arrival, Anita finds herself a virtual prisoner once more; this time because of a lack of any ID documents. She cannot leave the house. Those people she does come in to contact with, however, all seem intent on forgetting the recent horrors of Shoa. Instead, they rather go out to dance, enjoy themselves, and listen to popular american songs On Air by the Voice of America, even though the Russians disturb the radio transmission across the Iron Curtain.

Anita too has her dreams, but unlike the others is determined not to turn her back on the past. She’s a spirited girl, full of hope for the future, finding her strength in the memory of her parents, themselves both killed in the camps. She is disconcerted by that refusal to remember on the part of all those around her. No-one in the family … not even Eli, with whom she soon embarks on a passionate affair … seems even to want to think about what has happened, let alone talk about it. It’s as if everyone feels ashamed of having survived.

The denial of pain blocks the path to the truth. Anita instinctively knows this, but when she tries to breach that collective wall of silence that surrounds her, she finds herself being pushed back. So, if she wants to talk to anyone about her beloved and lost parents, she has to do so with little Roby, aged two, who listens to her happily but doesn’t understand.

In that melting pot of languages and nationalities that is the Central Europe of those days, once Anita is able to get out of the house she meets a whole range of unforgettable characters: among them Uncle Jacob, a musician who seems to be the conscience of the community; Sarah, the dynamic „ferrywoman” who organizes the refugees’ clandestine passage to Palestine; and young David, who like Anita is an orphan,who lost his parents in a non less tragic circumstances. Anita and David work at the same sewing workshop and soon become friends. One day he suddenly vanishes, in pursuit of his own dream. On the same day, just on the brink of womanhood, she finds herself pregnant with Eli’s baby. The story does not end here, so sincerely recommend the film viewing. The film was Italian speaking, sometimes Yiddish, with Hungarian subtitled, but hopefully it will come out in some places with English subtitle as well.

The film was released this year on January, 16  in Italy and screened  Israel and now at the MITTELCINEMAFEST – XIIth Italian Film Festival now showing in Budapest – Hungary … Coming  soon to Krakow, Bratislava and Prague.

Update  and snaps by Aggie Reiter

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