After four years of multiple trips to Poland and over a year of post-production, The Return, a film I shot with director Adam Zucker about four young women who discover their Jewish roots after being raised Catholic in Poland, starts its festival run in New York this month.
Before World War Two, Poland’s 3.5 million Jews made the country the epicenter of the Jewish world. Today around 20,000 Jews live there. Due to the shadow of the Holocaust and oppression during the Soviet era, Poland’s remaining Jews hid their identity from their children. When Communism fell in 1989, the door to the past began to crack open and a buried ancestry was revealed to today’s 20-somethings. THE RETURN focuses on four women in their 20’s who face the unique challenge of trying to forge an identity in a vacuum, with little knowledge of their heritage.
Kasia, Tusia, Maria and Katka—they are representative of a tiny but growing sector of young Poles—the third generation of Holocaust survivors. Many of these “new Jews” were raised Catholic and only found out in their teens they were in fact Jewish. Each is carving a unique trajectory to her Jewish narrative; the film tracks their journeys over a four-year period, leading to five cities, three continents, two weddings, two babies, a new citizenship and a conversion.
Next month, The Return will screen at the DOC NYC Film Festival on November 18th at 9:30pm and again on November 20th at 2:45pm. Both screenings will take place at the IFC Center theater. Tickets for the events can be purchased here.
The film will screen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on December 3rd at 7pm. It will be screened in conjunction with the exhibition “A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community” at the museum. Tickets can be purchased here.
Screening scheduled outside New York include:
Cine Judio Argentario in Buenos Aires – November 5th – 11th
Boston Jewish Film Festival – November 13th and 17th