AMHERST — An acclaimed documentary about Avrom Sutzkever, who the New York Occasions known as “the best poet of the Holocaust,” will display on the Amherst Cinema on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.
“Ver Vet Blaybn?” (Who Will Stay?) tells the story of Sutzkever (born in 1913), a Yiddish poet who lived in Vilnius, Lithuania from about 1921 to 1943. The movie additionally follows his granddaughter, Israeli actress Hadas Kalderon, as she travels to Lithuania to hint his legacy within the metropolis, beforehand often called Vilna.
“Ver Vet Blaybn” has racked up various awards and nominations at movie festivals within the U.S., Europe, Israel, Brazil, Japan, and different locations. It was named finest documentary at worldwide movie festivals in Switzerland and Tel Aviv.
As well as, the documentary has very native roots: It’s been co-directed by Christina Whitney, director of the Wexler Oral Historical past Mission on the Yiddish E book Heart in Amherst, and by Emily Felder, who beforehand labored on the Yiddish E book Heart and with Florentine Movies in Florence.
Whitney, a graduate of Smith Faculty, additionally produced “Ver Vet Blaybn,” whereas Felder, a College of Massachusetts Amherst alumna, edited the movie (Felder now lives in Los Angeles and works as an editor and videographer).
Each say the documentary, which they labored on for years, has been a labor of affection that goals not simply to shine a lightweight on the dramatic life and wealthy poetry of Sutzkever — he was considered one of a tiny variety of Jews to outlive the Vilna ghetto in World Conflict II — however to look at Jewish tradition in Vilna earlier than the warfare.
The movie follows Kalderon, carrying her grandfather’s diary, as she visits Lithuania to discover his youth there. Kalderon speaks Hebrew and should depend on translations of her grandfather’s work, however she’s decided to seek out traces of his bygone world and play her half in preserving his literary legacy.
The documentary additionally weaves in household residence movies, images and previous movie footage, newly recorded interviews, and archival recordings, together with Sutzkever’s testimony on the Nuremberg Trials and readings of his poetry.
Whitney, in an announcement, stated it’s a “dream come true to have our western Massachusetts premiere at Amherst Cinema, the place each Emily and I fell in love with documentaries and impartial motion pictures as undergrads.”
Except for his poetry, Sutkever additionally wrote a memoir about surviving the Vilna ghetto, from which he escaped in 1943 to struggle with partisans in outlying forests; he later was flown to Moscow by Soviet officers to assist write concerning the destruction of Vilna by the Nazis.
The poet, who died in 2010, moved to Israel in 1947 and have become a champion for preserving Yiddish, working to maintain alive a language threatened by the lack of so a lot of its native audio system within the Holocaust.
Following the screening of “Ver Vet Blaybn,” Whitney and Felder will focus on the documentary in a dialog moderated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Larry Hott of Florentine Movies and Hott Productions.
Steve Pfarrer will be reached at [email protected]