Masterfully edited from nearly 200 hours of footage, PAPIROSEN represents a decade of filmmaking, and four generations of Argentine director Gastón Solnicki's family history, culled from ...
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Masterfully edited from nearly 200 hours of footage, PAPIROSEN represents a decade of filmmaking, and four generations of Argentine director Gastón Solnicki's family history, culled from 8mm home videos, a VHS bar mitzvah, and original observational material. His father, Victor, emerges as the lead figure, but Solnicki highlights the entire clan. Beginning with the birth of his nephew, Mateo, and punctuated throughout by interviews with his grandmother, Pola, a Holocaust survivor, the film's scope is simultaneously epic and intimate. PAPIROSEN is a meditation on family, history, the importance of storytelling, and the power of cinema itself. OFFICIAL SELECTION - New York Jewish Film FestivalWritten by
At some point (as we learn near the end of the documentary) director Gastón Solnicky decided to record the goings-on in his family, including squabbles, separations, pleas for money and adherence (or lack thereof) to Jewish rituals and customs by diverse family members. By their statements we learn that Grandmother and Grandfather emigrated to Argentina from Poland illegally, Grandfather could not cope with Holocaust memories, and that from the relatives that could not flee Poland, no one survived. The family looks solidly middle class, integrated in Argentina (everyone except Grandmother Pola speaks with perfect Buenos Aires accent) without loss of their Jewish identity.
To his own filming Solnicky adds other materials like old home movies, presented in no particular order and a VHS of a bar mitzvah, which completes the movie in an upbeat note. The film holds together well, in spite of being essentially a home movie. As home movies go, there is a bit of staginess and play-acting here and there.
Papirosen (or Papirosn) means "cigarettes" in Yiddish. It is the title of a song, popular in Poland and Russia especially during WWII. Pola sings the beginning in one scene.
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