My Grandfather's House | Chicago Reader

My Grandfather's House

One of the least necessary documentaries I've ever seen, this video by Ron Steinman chronicles the efforts of his girlfriend, Eileen Douglas, to learn the story of her grandfather, a Lithuanian Jew who fled to the U.S. after he was called up for service in the Russian army. Douglas's relatives around the U.S. offer memories of Europe during the Holocaust, but every kitchen-table colloquy focuses on Douglas's gratuitous reactions. By the time she and her daughter arrive in Kovno, Lithuania, to page through some yellowed civic registers, she's worked herself into such a lather that she's talking to gravestones and enveloping people in aggressively long hugs. This is history as fashion accessory. 72 min.

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