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Still Haunted by History

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

Friday 24 June, 6pm – 8.30pm

Conceived as a sequel to the very successful event held in March 2019 (see Haunted by History – Insiders Outsiders Festival), this event will comprise the screening of three recent short films by UK-based members of the so-called Second Generation, namely the children of refugees from Nazism and/or Holocaust survivors, whose work not only explores the complex and necessarily problematic legacy of their families’ experiences but also - crucially - its relevance to the experience of refugees in the present.

The film-makers will be present to participate in a Q&A after each screening, and the evening will conclude with a panel discussion, chaired by Monica Bohm-Duchen, Founding Director of Insiders/Outsiders.

The programme will include the following films:

Sarah Dobai: The Donkey Field (2021)

The artist’s new film weaves a link between an antisemitic attack in 1944 on a young boy on a piece of common land known locally as ‘the donkey field’ and the story of the persecution of Marie and Balthazar in the acclaimed film Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966).

The film features a text based on sections of a memoir of Budapest in the last year of the war, and scenes which re-enact and reframe Bresson’s allegorical story about the scapegoating of innocent subjects. Partly shot on the streets of present-day Budapest, under a regime criticised for its anti-immigrant policies and harsh treatment of refugees, The Donkey Field underlines the relevance of the boy’s story to other, more recent stories of displacement and victimisation.

Janet Eisenstein: Kinder (2018)

Kinder is a poignant story about a Kindertransport boy now in his eighties. Soon after his arrival in England as a fifteen year old boy, Ralf Newman buried his Jewish identity in Bournemouth and then left the South Coast nursing a broken heart. This story follows him back to the seaside town where he is compelled to dig up his roots. Beneath this apparently simple tale of lost love is a universal story of memory and identity. Janet will also be talking about her new film-in-progress, Citizen of Nowhere.

Caroline Pick: Home Movie (2020)

In 2013 British documentary filmmaker and artist Caroline Pick created Home Movie, a short film based on footage of her family shot by her father, a refugee from Czechoslovakia. Behind the happy family façade, Pick remembered, there was, throughout her childhood, a gnawing sense of emptiness and not belonging, and of secrets too painful to confront. Seven years after the original film, and fifty-six years after the death of her mother, Pick travels to her mother’s hometown in Hungary (now Ukraine) to find the missing pieces of her family history.

For further information about the film makers and the films, see:


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