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The Optimists (Unrated)

Release Date: October 21st, 2005 (NYC-Quad Cinema) by Castle Hill Productions.
Directed by Jack Comforty.
In Bulgarian and Hebrew with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about 50,000 Jews in Bulgaria who were rescued by their friends and neighbors during the Holocaust.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The dozens of archival footage and interviews help to make this a very engaging documentary. Survivors talk directly to the camera about how they were saved. Their accounts vividly recreate their experiences. From the very beginning, director Jack Comforty gives a very clear and precise introduction about what the rest of the film explores: how and why 50,000 Jewsí lives were spared. The simple explanation is that their neighbors were kind enough to hide them and make sure that they donít get transported to the concentration camps. However, the explanation becomes more complicated once politics come into the picture, such as occupation of the Turks in Bulgaria which helped accustom the Bulgarians with religious tolerance. It would have been interesting to further examination of why these heroic acts didnít occur in other countries invaded by the Nazis. Nonetheless, the survivors interviewed tell their stories with enough warmth and details to draw you into every frame of this documentary.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: That Bulgarians saved 50,000 Jews during the Holocaust shows the true goodness of humanity. Religious tolerance makes one a better, peaceful person. Fortunately, there are kind people in this world who risk their own lives to save others no matter what background they come from. The moving and heartwarming interviews also reflect the importance of love and compassion, especially during harsh times.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A heartwarming, profoundly moving, and important documentary!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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