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THE LAST LETTER

France, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Documentaries)

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Legendary documentanan Frederick Wiseman directs Comedie-Francaise doyenne Cathenne Sarnie in her forceful, award-winning stage performance of Life and Fate, a recreation of a Russian Jewish doctor's final letter in 1941.

Anna Semionovna lives in a small Ukrainian town that has just been invaded by the Germans. She writes a last letter to her son who, she believes, is safe behind the front lines. Anna knows that in a few days, she, together with other Jews, will be 'eliminated' by the Germans. The letter recounts some of the major events in her life; her loving relationship with her son, her student life in Paris and her failed marnage. She describes the cruelty and horror of the Occupation and the reluctance to admit what is happening, gradually realising that her Jewish heritage is more important to her than her Russian nationality and communist beliefs.

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