The Flat Reviews
November 16, 2014
What makes this documentary so revealing and intriguing is not so much the mystery that Goldfinger tries to uncover or its shocking implications but all the collective propensity of second-generation Jews and Germans to close their eyes and leave the past and secrets behind.
August 20, 2014
A lot of families have skeletons in their closets. For Arnon Goldfinger(?!?), after his grandmother dies, he finds quite a few creepy looking mink stoles in her closet in her apartment in Israel. On a more metaphorical level, he discovers a friendship his grandparents had with a senior SS officer not only before World War II, but after.
To be honest, that's not as weird as it sounds. That's for the simple reason that emigrants tend to identify more with the country they came from, then the one they move to, as his grandparents continued to speak German after they arrived in Israel, never learning to speak Hebrew.(As he recalled in his autobiography, Kirk Douglas remembers hearing German songs when he was filming on location in Israel which made him very, very angry.) At least, Arnon is in the right neighborhood when he talks about generational differences, even as he cannot truly overcome the home movie aesthetics of his documentary "The Flat."
May 31, 2013
The Flat es un documental hecho por Arnon Goldfinger que a raíz de la muerte de su abuela toma la oportunidad para documentar lo que es la limpieza de el apartamento. Siento que al empezar esta filmación nunca se imaginó a la travesía que lo iba a llevar. Es una situación delicada, ya que a veces es mejor dejar los secretos escondidos, que es exactamente lo que hubiera hecho la mamá de Arnon que prefería no preguntar, y sus padres no contar. Pero como vemos en la película, las generaciones cambian y Arnon está determinado a conocer esta historia que empieza al encontrar un recorte de periódico titulado "Un nazi viaja a palestina" y al leerlo se da cuenta que los guías turísticos fueron sus abuelos, y el nazi llamado Leopold von Mildenstein era un oficial de alto rango de la SS, y a raíz de ese viaje entablaron una amistad, lo cual causa conmoción por razones morales que no necesitan explicación. El documental llega a su fin con la realización de que a veces no es necesario saber todas las respuestas, y algunas cosas no necesitan ser descubiertas.
August 9, 2013
Fun little documentary that was informative and interesting. Truly nothing wrong with this movie except it was not phenomenal and the information learned will never be used in conversation.
July 5, 2013
I really enjoyed this film.
July 2, 2013
A eery tale of a grandson finding the truth about his grandmother and father's past life that no one in the family ever knew about, its gripping, sad and telling how much one person could keep from a family for so many years.
June 28, 2013
This one is going to be getting mixed reviews. I just saw it in the theater with my wife. I disliked it, and she loved it. She saw it as a fascinating puzzle akin to her research into her own family history. I was bored. The documentary starts with a familty cleaning out Grandma's single-floor apartment soon after her death. Grandma was a German Jew who lived most of her life in Israel. The descendants discover that Grandma and Grandpa were close friends to a Nazi couple back in Germany. And they continued the friendship even after World War II and Nazi atrocities had become widely known. While I agree that this is pretty strange, I found that I didn't care all that much. My wife, on the other hand, sat on the edge of her seat as the daughter and grandson slowly fill in details about the friends and the friends' relationship to the grandparents. By the end of the movie, I didn't feel particularly enlightened about how these peope came to be friends nor how they continued to be friends. As I say, however, my wife was fascinated. I am guessing you'll like this movie if you are interested in how historians do research, if you' re interested in the holocaust, and if you like documentaries. 2 stars 6-21-13
June 20, 2013
Unexpected Family History
My father's mother was a hoarder. I'm certain they finished cleaning out her belongings by now; my ex-step-aunt got a reverse mortgage on the house some years ago and lost the house a couple of years ago, well before she herself died. So you figure they were done with Grandma's stuff by the time Billie had to find somewhere else to live. However, until the point at which she lost the house, I wasn't sure. I know Grandma had a room that was just her stuff. And the attic. And two of those pressed-metal storage sheds from Sears in the back yard. That was how I spent the weekend I graduated from high school, in fact--clearing out Grandma's storage sheds until I got heatstroke and had to go lie down. Yes, there was some interesting stuff in there, though there was quite a lot more junk. However, nothing Grandma had was anywhere near as interesting as what Arnon Goldfinger found while cleaning out his grandmother's flat in Israel.
Gerda Tuchler, Arnon Goldfinger's maternal grandmother, had lived in the same apartment for seventy years. She and her husband, Kurt, has moved into it after emigrating to what was then Palestine from Germany shortly before that became impossible. Arnon and his family went through the apartment. His mother, Hannah, basically wanted to get rid of everything, and while I'm with her on some of it, I don't trust a lot of the people who told her that most of it was worthless. At any rate, it was only Arnon who was interested in things like old letters. And then, he found a stack of old Nazi propaganda papers detailing the journey of a Nazi in Palestine. The Nazi was Leopold von Mildenstein, Eichmann's predecessor. And alongside the von Mildensteins were Kurt and Gerda Tuchler. The Tuchlers were able to emigrate, but Gerda's mother wasn't; to the surprise of Arnon's mother, Gerda's mother was killed in the Holocaust. And after the war, von Mildenstein got back in touch with his old friend, Kurt Tuchler, in hopes that Kurt would testify before the Allies that he wasn't one of those bad Nazis.
Obviously, Leopold von Mildenstein was long dead by the time ninety-eight-year-old Gerda Tuchler died. However, her grandson was able to find von Mildenstein's daughter, Edda Milz von Mildenstein. Edda was still proud of her father. She wasn't entirely sure what he'd done during the war, but she pointed out that he'd been listed as a journalist. Which, in a way, he was. However, he was a member of the Nazi party, and the idea that people emigrating to Palestine should not be allowed to take most of their money and property was his. He does not seem to have been as awful a person as his successor, but that's not actually saying much. Anyway, whatever he did, Edda basically didn't know about it--and she didn't ask. She even maintained a file of clippings that she insisted proved her father hadn't even been a Nazi. There's an interesting part of the film wherein Arnon and Hannah are visiting Edda and are trying to figure out what to say and what to ask about Edda's father.
Kurt and Gerda didn't talk about the war because it was painful to them. She had lost her mother, and she never told her own daughter how. Arnon found the information about the death at Yad Vashem and passed it on to his mother, who thought her grandmother had died of natural causes. Eventually, they are able to visit the cemetery where her grandfather is theoretically buried, but they are unable to find the grave. Unspoken is the knowledge that they are lucky any Jewish graves at all remain. The history of that time period is missing large amounts of information, and this piece was almost lost as well. Hannah planned to throw away all of her mother's papers, because the papers weren't worth anything. No one in the family save Arnon even seems interested in the family's history; one of the first things we learn is that none of them know it. His siblings don't even know when their grandfather was born. They seem a little surprised that none of them know, but neither regret not knowing it themselves.
And, yeah, I'm pretty sure they could have gotten more out of the various people who came to help them clean about Gerda's possessions. Neither Graham nor I could even look when the guy took a piece of furniture and just hucked it over the railing of the balcony; they had to have been something like four stories up. At least. Personally, I would have taken a little time to check out, say, the German version of Amazon to see if the guy was telling the truth at how little Gerda's books were worth. The guy who cleared out the rest of the apartment offered her a thousand shekels for the lot--minus the paintings, which she wouldn't sell, and a few other things which the family kept--and while I don't know what the exchange rate was two years ago, as of today, that works out to about $275 American. Yeah, she's also getting the advantage of not having to deal with it herself, but I'm pretty sure she could have gotten a better deal. Heck, we got more than that for Grandma Nelson's stuff, and that was nearly twenty years ago.
June 14, 2013
All my archivist buddies need to watch this. You watch a family go through the apartment of a 98 year old hoarding relative. Just watching them go through her paperwork....sigh...it is instructive. Anyone who find history interesting will enjoy the whole thing. I cannot imagine uncovering such things about your family and how does one deal with that?
June 13, 2013
It's an intriguing self-study of one's unpredictable heritage that's historically significant and very poignant.
June 4, 2013
Upon cleaning out the apartment of their recently deceased grandmother, a Jewish family must come to terms with the fact their grandparents were a bit too cozy with an SS officer and his wife, while the descendants of that SS officer must wrestle with the atrocities of their ancestor. Fascinating.
April 15, 2013
Excellent film and extremely validating regarding the responses and reactions of the other family members as the truth about his grandparents were revealed: close friends with the father of the Nazi Jewish Solution.
May 21, 2013
A very unique approach of Jews in Nazi Germany revealed in an unexpected manner but the somewhat casual storytelling style does not work for me.
March 26, 2013
Storytelling at its finest. A truly fascinating documentary that deserved every one of the many awards that it won. Absolutely recommended viewing
January 17, 2013
tough. watching the past unfold, unsure, like the fragile, yellowed pages of a book long unopened - untouched for two generations. predictable silence for/with children of the holocaust, and grandchildren - no past - no memories. watching hidden reality emerge, mysteries, some less than desirable - confusing and astounding. speechless at times - the past living in absentia, emotionally and mentally erased. one wonders how many families have lived without their past - not just physically, but without reality. whew.
January 13, 2013
Spellbinding film that that probes the uncomfortable relationship that present day Israelis and Germans have with their past. More exciting than many Hollywood "thrillers" and very moving, as well.
December 13, 2012
Excellent documentary about an Israeli man, Arnon Goldfinger, cleaning out his grandmother's flat following her death and uncovering ton of family history which he has difficulty understanding and is shocked that he never asked about it while she was alive. She grew up in Germany and emigrated to the Middle East before the war but after the war she and her husband maintained a friendship with another German couple who worked on behalf of the Nazi cause. Goldfinger seeks out anyone he can find to help him understand his grandparents lives, including the German couple's daughter. It's a sad, complex, and fascinating genealogical adventure about the past and present, memory, forgetting, friendship and family.
November 20, 2012
Insightful film about how two Israeli-based Zionists remained friends with a former member of the SS.
November 14, 2012
Note that Wikipedia censored the US involvement with Mildenstein, then CIA officer working as Coca Cola press officer, until the public Eichmann trial ended that episode.
|Peneflix Movie Reviews||
November 6, 2012
A tiresome, true tale of an Israeli man, after the death of his 98-year-old grandmother, discovering correspondence, photographs and empirical evidence of a lifelong relationship between his Jewish grandparents and a German family, ranking high in Nazi echelons; their friendship commenced before the second world war and lasted well into the sixties with repeated trips to post-war Germany and other spots throughout Europe. We watch the "flat" being divested of archival material: papers, clothes, jewelry, long unread, unworn and the unearthing of a mysterious, unexplained personal fusion, that despite monumental obstacles, never died.
Arnon Goldfinger burrows deep into the lives of Kurt and Gerda Tuchler (his grandparents) and Leopold von Mildenstein and his wife. He follows the trail to Germany, interviewing the daughter and son-in-law of Von Mildenstein. What follows is obfuscation, ignoring the reality on the part of the Germans but also the lack of interest, inquiry of Mrs. Goldfinger, the daughter of Kurt and Gerda; she never asked or exhibited a modicum of curiosity in her parents past, their emigration to Palestine in the thirties, or why they lived for decades in Tel Aviv surrounded by German memorabilia; Gerda never mastered Hebrew.
Droningly narrated by Arnon, his dispassionate mother in tow, the answer from the embryonic stages to the conclusion, was completely obvious. Two intelligent couples, similar interests, forged a bond of friendship that the era, ideologies, war, could not render asunder; topics permanently avoided: religion and politics.