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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(SHOWcase) Matthew Mishory's ABSENT!

Filmmaker Matthew Mishory's (Joshua Tree, 1951) father (and generations of his family) were born in the Jewish agricultural village of Mărculeşti in north-eastern Romania, now a part of the independent state of Moldova. Matthew's father fled Romania with his parents as a small child, three years before Kristallnacht. Others were not so lucky; the village and its inhabitants were destroyed in the Holocaust. In the decades since, the region itself has withered under years of Soviet neglect and Moldovan poverty. In the fall of 2013, Matthew will become the first member of his family to return in over 75 years. Working with renowned cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah, Romanian producer Sabin Dorohoi, and a very small crew, he will document the last remaining vestiges of Jewish Mărculeşti (an ancient crumbling cemetery, an unmarked mass grave), meet the region's few current inhabitants, and capture the profound absence of a once-thriving community and way of life. A beautifully photographed, contemplative, and essential step toward reconciliation with the past, the film will also serve as a subtle but timely reminder -- as xenophobia again surges on the Continent and in the United States.

Why this Film? Why Now?

The Jews of Bessarabia are among the most culturally significant communities of the pre-Holocaust Jewish world. They invented Klezmer music in a region where Eastern and Western influences collided. They built many of the architectural gems of the Old World. And their community was destroyed almost without a trace. This story has never before been told.

Anti-Semitism is surging again in Europe, along with xenophobia, Islamophobia, and Romaphobia. In the past three years, tens of thousands of Roma people have been expelled from France alone. Intolerance lurks beneath the American immigration debate, too. In the echoes of a seemingly distant culture, we find insights into how and why intolerance is growing and what we can do to avert modern tragedy. The Holocaust remains relevant, living history.

The role of Moldovans in the extermination of Jews has been systematically denied by the Moldovan government for years and as recently as last month -- on national television. We should not need to have this conversation in 2013, but we do. This film is a necessary dialogue of accountability and denial. Support this Project by September 12th.

No Video Trailer yet, but please view Mishory's Joshua Tree, 1951 Trailer and get a glimpse of the director's art and creativity.

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