ART OF REMEMBRANCE: SIMON WIESENTHAL
by Hannah Heer & Werner Schmiedel
Director of Photography Hannah Heer
Original Music John Zorn
A/USA 1995 color 99 min
Simon Wiesenthal, Richard R. Seibel, Stanley Robbin, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Raul Hilberg, Mark Weitzman, Efraim Zuroff, Alfred Streim, Sylvie Corrin-Zyss, Rabbi Moshe-Leib Kolesnik, Rabbi Joshua O.Haberman, Zwi Werblowsky, Tania Golden, Carl Achleitner
THE ART OF REMEMBRANCE - SIMON WIESENTHAL is a powerful documentary film on Simon Wiesenthal. He is a Holocaust survivor who became one of the most important Jewish humanitarians of the 20th century. Wiesenthal has devoted his life to exposing the crimes of the Nazi regime, and bringing to justice the individuals who committed "crimes against humanity".
Combining a halakhic and activist approach with the sensitivity of a detective, Simon Wiesenthal collects information which he presents to the appropriate authorities. The documentary film is also a critical examination of Austria's politics since 1945. Until recently Austria not only refused to face up to its Nazi past, but since the 1970s there have been no trials against former Nazi criminals in Austria.
The filmmakers, Hannah Heer and Werner Schmiedel, were given unprecedented access to this pioneer of the human rights movement, despite his hectic schedule, and spent ten years producing and filming this non-fiction biography. They traveled with Wiesenthal to eight different countries, including Holland, France, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Israel, and the United States. The film traces Wiesenthal's life from his childhood in Galicia, Eastern Europe, through his ordeals in Nazi concentration camps to his post-war dedication to keeping alive the memory of those who did not survive the genocide. Wiesenthal's colleagues, friends -- and enemies -- offer insights in numerous interviews, interwoven with innovative visual and aural documentary techniques.
Accompanying extensive conversations with Wiesenthal himself are interviews with U.S. Colonel Richard R. Seibel, liberator of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria; Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York; Raul Hilberg, professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont, who was forced by the Nazis to leave Austria in 1939; Paris-based Attorney Sylvie Corrin-Zyss, whose father survived the death camp at Auschwitz; and many others.
Using a color scheme that provides symbolic and psychological dimensions and with an original soundtrack by renown composer John Zorn, THE ART OF REMEMBRANCE creates a vivid testimony of the legacy of the Holocaust in a world still plagued by ethnic and racial conflicts.
"A film that builds its case with quiet force and intellectual
acuity, The Art of Remembrance: Simon Wiesenthal is far removed
from the sort of standard-issue hagiography that clutters the documentary
Skillfully directed by Hannah Heer and Werner Schmiedel, with original music from John Zorn, the documentary puts Wiesenthal at its center less to glorify one man's work than to inquire into the moral imperative of that work." --Manohla Dargis, LA-Weekly
World Premiere: Filmcasino, Vienna, October 1994 with Panel Discussion:
Simon Wiesenthal, Julius H. Schoeps (Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna), and film directors Hannah Heer & Werner Schmiedel
Filmhaus Stöbergasse, Vienna, May 1995,
Introduction: Dr. Rudolf Scholten, Federal Minister for Education and Arts,
and Swanee Hunt, United States Ambassador to Austria.
Panel Discussion: Simon Wiesenthal, Colonel Richard R. Seibel,
Hannah Heer, Werner Schmiedel; moderated by Doron Rabinovici
Diagonale, Festival of Austrian Film, Salzburg, Austria
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (New York, Los Angeles, Seattle)
Denver International Film Festival, USA
São Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil
Jewish Film Week, Los Angeles, USA
Mumbai (Bombay) International Film Festival, India
Ft Lauderdale International Film Festival, USA
Kind of Blue - Jazz Film Festival (Retrospective John Zorn), Milano, Italy