TJFF 2018: Postwar Tales Dramatic + Darkly Comedic

May 26, 2018 | By

Screened at the recent TJFF 2018 were a pair of post-WWII films dealing with the flight of refugees, but with very different stories and struggles.

The 2017 production of Bye Bye Germany (which makes a bit more sense than the original German title Es war einmal in Deutschland, aka ‘Once Upon a Time in Germany’) offers a darkly comedic take on Jewish refugees caught in the boredom of an internment camp.

The catch-22’s are simple: without money, no chance of immigrating to the U.S., but without a certificate, no chance of earning money, hence a scheme of sorts to sell overpriced linen to war-weary Germans, except leader David Bermann is being investigated by the U.S. Army for… something.

More intriguing is The Earth Cries Out / Il grido della terra, a 1949 case-specific dramatization of Jews escaping an internment camp in Italy for British-governed Palestine.

At the end of the review I’ve added a YouTube link to a fascinating Q&A conducted in 2012 at the Primo Levi Center in NYC, with the writer’s daughter and key historians contextualizing and recounting both the film’s status from lost to rediscovered document, and the incredible life of story writer Lewis Gittler.

Coming next: Jacques Demy’s Model Shop (1969) from Twilight Time, and Lola (1961) from Criterion.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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