Four Seasons Lodge (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Four Seasons Lodge
Perhaps the most remarkable thing this unexpectedly warm and affirmative film shows us about the survivors is that, far from blocking out their past, they've managed to enjoy these unexpected years despite continually living with their personal horrors.
[Director Andrew Jacob's] pitch-perfect film provides an affectionate look at a brave, disappearing subculture.
The lyrically complicating hand of Mr. Maysles, who shot the film with several collaborators, is everywhere apparent in the way the camera picks a path around coherence, refusing narrative in favor of the thick detail of life unfolding.
What's most beautiful of all is that this document ensures that these people will indeed live on forever. Take that, Nazis!
What's surprising about a documentary with such an obvious hook is its unforced but trenchant look at the crisis of faith dividing a small group of mostly Polish Jews who suffered through one of the most godless blights on human history.
Audience Reviews for Four Seasons Lodge
When the second-rate band rips into "I Will Survive" at the end of "Four Seasons Lodge", the first instinct is to roll one's eyes; what a hackneyed tune! "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is," Noel Coward commented, and as the lyrics unfold ("Did you think I'd crumble/did you think I'd lay down and die/Oh no not I/I will survive/Oh as long as I know how to love I know I'll be alive"), the emotional force of this story suddenly wallops you. On the surface, this is "just" a documentary about a bunch of Jewish senior citizens who share cabins at a "resort" (to put it kindly) in the Catskills every summer; these elderly men and women, however, are almost all Holocaust survivors who have created this new "family" out of the only people like themselves who survived the horrors of the Nazis. The film is overlong and meandering, and has the unfortunate luck to be released after the sublime "Young At Heart." Still, you can't trump those black-and-white pictures of this film's subjects in their youth, mere weeks before they were sent to another kind of camp and everything they know was swept away in the ovens at Auschwitz. To these people, simply sitting in the sun or dancing to music is a powerful affirmation of the will to live; they have indeed survived, and this new "camp" is their symbolic triumph over the past. It may not belong in the upper-pantheon of Holocaust documentaries, but "Four Seasons Lodge" still has an urgent poignancy that can't be dismissed.
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