Secret Lives: Hidden Children & Their Rescuers During WWII | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Secret Lives: Hidden Children & Their Rescuers During WWII

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"Even I roll my eyes when I hear about another Holocaust documentary," filmmaker Aviva Slesin recently told the New York Times, speaking with a candor that's still reserved for Holocaust survivors. According to the Times there have been 69 such films released since 1990 alone, yet honest criticism of the burgeoning genre is often inhibited by its grave subject matter. Slesin's contribution looks at children (like herself) who were saved from the death camps by non-Jewish families who passed them off as their own, and its fixed moral compass of heroes, villains, and hunted children makes for a fairly dull collection of talking heads. But the film becomes progressively more gripping as it probes the postwar emotional dislocation suffered by the children, their adoptive families, and the biological parents who sometimes returned to find themselves forgotten or unloved. The consequent pain, anger, and confusion on all sides disrupts the standard martyrology of the genre and exposes the ordinary human wreckage that can follow even the most extraordinary acts of heroism. 72 min. Music Box.

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