The Flat (2012)
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Critic Reviews for The Flat
Arnon's filmmaking is flaccid, with TV-style interviews and rote reaction shots in place of cinematic imagery and deftly edited surprises.
There's something touching about the way Goldfinger obeys his moral compass.
I will salute the deftness and intelligence with which Goldfinger observes the reactions of the living to the revelations of the dead.
Are things better left alone or is revealing all always the best path? "The Flat," to its credit, offers nothing like a definitive answer.
"The Flat" is a compelling tale of history made personal, and of what happens when light is shone on something previously murky.
Audience Reviews for The Flat
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.
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."
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
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