„The Danube Exodus”

The Danube Exodus, dir. Peter Forgács, Hungary, 1998, 60 min

The historian/archivist thanks to whom the film was made was a captain on a Danube ship who did not sus-pend his cruises during the war. Two of his voyages, carefully selected, have been juxtaposed by Forgács to create an image that brings out the extraordinary paradoxes of history. On the first voyage, the Hungarian captain carried Jews escaping by way of the Black Sea to Palestine. His passengers danced and rejoiced, since they had just barely escaped death. The purpose of the second voyage was to transport Germans who were being forcefully resettled from Bessarabia to the Reich. In the future, they were to settle in Poland. During the voyage, they are shown mourning the homes they have been forced to leave.

„Images of the Past Restored”. A review of films by Péter Forgács

In September, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will offer a unique opportunity to get to know the work of the artist behind our first temporary exhibition - Letters to Afar. Two of the four movies we will be presenting will be shown in Poland for the very first time. The uniqueness of Forgács’ films does not derive from the story they tell. For that story is well-known - it is none other than the tortuous and difficult history of the 20th century. Their uniqueness stems from the material which has gone into their making - home movies by amateur filmmakers. Forgács spent 6 years visiting homes in Hungary and other parts of Europe, archiving old tapes and conducting interviews with those whose lives had been recorded on them. He then arranged the old, damaged images into a story about people and a world annihilated by wars and totalitarianism. He was thereby able to recapture at least a part of the lost past.

The work of Forgács encourages reflection on the relationship between history and cinema, on the documentary role of film as a medium, even when used for private purposes. It reminds us that history’s heroes are always, above all, ordinary people.

Tickets - 5 PLN. Joint ticket for all films – 15 PLN.