„The Maelstrom - A Family Chronicle”

„The Maelstrom - A Family Chronicle”, dir. Péter Forgács, Hungary, 1997, 60 min

One of Péter Forgács’ most spectacular films. The majority of the film consists of home movies by Dutch Jews who perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The happy moments recorded in the 1930s and 40s - before their world was annihilated. As a counterpoint to this Jewish story, the director presents the color family films of the Ger-man Reichskommissar for Holland. A similar mood pervades these happy scenes of family life, the oppressors seem no different than their victims, which produces a highly alarming effect for the viewer.

„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.