Dave's Rating:


… completely fascinating.

Who's in It: Jack Polak, Ina Soep, the voices of Jeroen Krabbé, Ellen Ten Damme

The Basics: Jack is unhappily married to Manja. And then he meets Ina, who turns out to be his soul mate. So he conducts a secret affair, mostly via letter-writing, with Ina even though Manja knows what's going on. Oh, yeah, one more thing: They're all Jewish and at a concentration camp during the Holocaust. And it's a documentary.

What's the Deal? Just when I think I've seen the last Holocaust documentary I ever need to see, along comes one that blows my mind. Maybe it's because the Holocaust itself was so beyond comprehension. Or maybe it's because this one starts with the now-93-year-old Polak saying, "I'm a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in a concentration camp with my wife and my girlfriend, and it was not easy." So, you know, not the sort of "we were so brave and morally upright" kind of thing you've come to expect and, therefore, completely fascinating.

Luck, Luck and More Luck: They were sent to Westerbork, the propaganda camp where they were all filmed and shown to the world as "happy." And because Soep was a diamond heiress, she knew the industry and could take shorthand and was put to work in a clerical capacity. And, finally all three of them avoided disease and slaughter and lived to the end of the war to continue their love triangle afterwards.

Dear Hollywood: Please don't make the fictionalized Life Is Beautiful version of this story. It would have to be called Life is Full of Messy Personal Stuff. You guys aren't good at capturing human complexity and these people are too difficult to put into an easy moral box, especially when Jack freely admits to things like denying his dying sister his own last crust of bread.


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