"Broken Branches" (2014 release from Israel; 25 min.) is a short animated documentary about a Polish woman who at age 14 in 1926 was sent away by her parents, and on her own, to go to Israel, only to find out some years later that she will never be reunited with her family again. The documentary is written and directed by Ayala Sharot, the woman's granddaughter. Sharot clearly has turned the into a labor of love.
The movie in essence consists of Sharot interviewing her grandmother as to what life was like back in Poland as she grew up and before she was sent away to Israel. Those memories are told in animated segments. It is a miracle in a way, in that the woman still has artifacts (journals, pictures, other mementos) from those days, now 7 or 8 decades later. (We learn along the way that the woman was born in 1922, so that makes her about 90 years around the time this movie was made. I really should say 90 years young, as she is feisty and full of life.) The most poignant moments come towards the end when Sharot asks her grandmother what it feels like to never have seen her family again. Watch for the reply, which I think will take you by surprise...
I recently saw "Broken Branches" at the 2017 Jewish and Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati, a 3 week celebration of the best movies from Israel and more generally Jewish-themed movies. It played as part of a double-header, "opening" for another worthwhile movie called "The Last Mentsch". Given its short running time, I doubt that "Broken Branch" will get a stand-alone release, so look for it on streaming services or at your local Jewish/Israeli film festival.
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