Friday, May 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes of History

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think about what it was like before Wikipedia and Internet Movie Data Base, when you would go home after seeing a compelling film based on a true story and want to know more about which scenes really happened, which were fictionalized, and what happened to the subjects after the action in the film was over. However, you’d have to wait until an article came out in a newspaper, or you had time to go to a library and do your own research. Now we have that information as close as our iPhones, but at the Museum of Jewish Heritage we give audiences a chance to learn about history from the remarkable people who lived through it. For instance, this week when we showed the landmark film Exodus, not only did we have Leon Uris’ biographer, Ira Nadel, there to offer remarks before the screening, but at intermission, Ruth Gruber, a journalist who was a witness to the journey depicted in the film, spoke at length about her experiences.

Sunday, June 3rd at 2:45 p.m., we’ll be offering a rare opportunity to watch an award-winning film and hear from Krystyna Chiger Keren, one of the people whose story is dramatized, when we’ll present a special screening of Agnieszka Holland’s Oscar nominee, In Darkness (Poland, 2011, 114 min.). The film’s screenwriter, David Shamoon, will be on hand to share his insights as well.

In Darkness follows Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and petty thief in Lvov, a Nazi occupied city in Poland. One day Socha encounters a group of Jews trying to escape the liquidation of the ghetto. He hides them for money in the labyrinth of the town’s sewers beneath the bustling activity of the city above. What starts out as a straightforward business arrangement turns into an unlikely alliance between Socha and the Jews for whom he risks his own life.

Still from In Darkness. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

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