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Inside Hana's Suitcase (2009)

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INSIDE HANA'S SUITCASE A Theatrical Documentary Synopsis "Inside Hana's Suitcase", is the poignant story of two young children who grew up in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia and the terrible events... See full summary »



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INSIDE HANA'S SUITCASE A Theatrical Documentary Synopsis "Inside Hana's Suitcase", is the poignant story of two young children who grew up in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia and the terrible events that they endured just because they happened to be born Jewish. Based on the internationally acclaimed book "Hana's Suitcase" which has been translated into 40 languages, the film is an effective blend of documentary and dramatic techniques. In addition to tracing the lives of George and Hana Brady in the 1930's and 40's, "Inside Hana's Suitcase" tells the present-day story of "The Small Wings", a group of Japanese children, and how their passionate and tenacious teacher, Fumiko Ishioka, helped them solve the mystery of Hana Brady, whose name was painted on an old battered suitcase that they received from Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp built in Poland. The film's plot unfolds as told through contemporary young storytellers who act as the omniscient narrators. They seamlessly transport us ... Written by Larry Weinstein

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Release Date:

January 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Mala de Hana  »

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User Reviews

A Very Personal Account Of The Holocaust
1 March 2010 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

When I heard about this movie, my gut reaction was "another Holocaust movie?" There have been a lot of movies made with Holocaust themes, and a lot of documentaries have tried to give some basic information about the Holocaust. I appreciated that this was different, though. "Inside Hana's Suitcase" really does neither of those things. It takes a very personal look at the Holocaust, largely through the eyes of Auschwitz survivor George Brady, whose parents and sister Hana died in the Holocaust. Director Larry Weinstein uses a variety of approaches in this film. A lot of it is just George talking about his experiences. Some family photographs are used, as well as some recreated scenes of family life using actors, but filmed in black and white - giving the appropriate feel to the scenes. A lot of the movie also revolves around the Holocaust Museum in Tokyo, whose director is the one who actually did get possession of a suitcase that supposedly belonged to Hana Brady when she was taken to Auschwitz. Becoming intrigued by the little girl about whom she knew nothing, she did painstaking research and discovered that George had survived and was living in Toronto. The connection between the two led to a book, and eventually to this movie. There are also many shots of talks with children who've read the book, who speak about what they've learned about Hana.

In a sense, you don't learn a lot about the Holocaust from this, but that doesn't appear to be the movie's point, either. It's not an educational documentary or a historical docudrama. It's the personal story of the Brady family that's most intriguing, and that at times is very moving. George speaks candidly about his guilt at surviving while Hana died, even though he feels he should have been protecting his little sister. But he also comes across as a positive man, who tries to be joyful in spite of his terrible past, and who rebuilt his life and became a happy man with a family of his own. It's the family story that makes this work. I personally thought there was too much emphasis on the Japanese connection (and, although it was mentioned in passing a couple of times, insufficient reflection - since Japan plays a big part in this - on the irony of Japanese schoolchildren saying how important it was to learn of such things in order to prevent them, while knowing that the Japanese government has really never owned up to its own crimes in World War II, and that Japanese textbooks are heavily censored on the subject.) There are also a handful of attempts at limited animation, which I didn't find to be especially well done.

I had the good fortune of attending a screening at which Larry Weinstein and George Brady were both present and answered questions. They're interesting men, and the movie they've made is well worth watching, not from a historical perspective, but from a simple human perspective. 8/10

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