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Reviews for September 28th, 2012


Directed by Rian Johnson

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Columbia Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

My Life as Abraham Lincoln

Directed by Shari Berman

Number of times I check my watch: 0
Released by Saberman Too.

Six Million and One

Directed by David Fisher

      Documentaries about the Holocaust are important because they remind you of the horrors of the past that should never be forgotten. Six Million and One isn't fundamentally about the Holocaust, but rather about how David Fisher and his three siblings, Gideon, Ronel and Estee Fisher Heim cope with learning about the experiences of their father, Joseph, who survived the Holocaust while interning at two concentration camps, Gusen and Gunskirchen in Austria. Upon finding and reading his father's memoir, David takes his siblings on a journey to Gusen. That journey can be perceived as an emotional journey as well because each of them reacts to the horrors that Joseph went through in his/her own way.

      Director David Fisher wisely doesn't resort to exposition or talking heads. He merely follows his siblings along as they gradually open up with their thoughts and feelings. Among his siblings, he's the only one who willingly goes on the journey and who read his father's memoir. It would have been interesting to observe how he persuaded them to come with him all the way to Austria to begin with, though. Nonetheless, the footage of them having discussions in the car and particularly, in the tunnels where Joseph worked, are quite engrossing and thought-provoking. They each certainly have a lot of emotional baggage that they've bottled up inside, so their journey serves as a form of catharsis in a way albeit one without any concrete closure.

      Perhaps in another documentary a few years from now, David could ask them a lot of piercing questions that dig deeper. If he were to do so during this film, he wouldn't have let them truly absorb their new experiences at Gusen. It would probably take a lot of time for them to emotionally and intellectually process their journey thoroughly because it hits so close to home and it generates so many complex emotions and paradoxes, i.e. Ronel's disbelief of how a forest where something ugly happened in the past could look so beautiful now. All of the complex emotions may not be easy to put to words so soon or without the help of a therapist. Fisher could have omitted the footage of a young woman reading out loud the different ways that Holocaust survivors died because it distracts from the film's dramatic momentum. He should be commended, though, for including moments of levity where he and his siblings share some laughter together. Without that levity, Six Million and One would be too heavy and monotonous.

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Nancy Fishman Film Releasing.
Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

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