Poland / USA, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)
Director: Andrzej Wajda, Marcel Lozinski
Screening to emotional houses at this years Berlin Film Festival I Remember is a simply constructed but deeply moving documentary. Renowned filmmaker Andrzej Wajda has chronicled the political and social changes of his native Poland with sensitivity, passion and a refusal to pull punches. He brings this same sensibility to his recording of the testimony of Polish ghetto survivors who lived through the Nazi occupation.
This film is a part of the Shoah Foundation's Broken Silence series, exploring various aspects of the Holocaust, documenting eyewitness accounts. I Remember gives voice to four men who were all children or teens when stormtroopers marched into their cities, turning the population against itself with intimidatory tactics and violent punishment for those who flouted the swastika.
These men speak of the way in which starving, sick, humiliated people coped with normalising their lives in the face of Jewish manhunts, blackmail by fellow citizens and summary executions. Moments of humour and incredible bravery punctuate events that seem impossible to fathom even 60 years later.
Andrzej Wajda (1926, Suwalki) is Poland's most famous director and for decades has remained a legendary figure in European filmmaking. He has helmed close to 40 films since 1955, many of them cinema classics, including his masterpiece Ashes and Diamonds (1958).