• The Flat
    3 minutes 32 seconds
    Added: Oct 2, 2012

Opening

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The Flat Reviews

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bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

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
Debbie E

Super Reviewer

October 21, 2012
A wonderfully crafted and very personal documentary, that should speak to a whole new generation post the 'silent' one! Goldfinger does a superb job of dealing with unanswerable questions, peeling back the onion layers and trying to get to the truth and some sort of conclusion. That there can't be one and all is left is speculation, is what makes this film so compelling and powerful. Everyone who sees it will judge it based on his/her own personal experiences.
Daniel D

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2014
An Israeli independent documentary, that examine a personal relationship between the director, and his revelations about his dead grandparents. Tries to play out as a puzzle, but releases the big picture prematurely. Occasionally touching, with its highly personal creation, and touchy - but delicately handled- subject matter. The director does a great job as an observer, never letting emotion overtake the film.

2.5 stars +
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 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.
gillianren
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 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.
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.
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.

TWO STARS!!

For Now.....Peneflix
Debbie E

Super Reviewer

October 21, 2012
A wonderfully crafted and very personal documentary, that should speak to a whole new generation post the 'silent' one! Goldfinger does a superb job of dealing with unanswerable questions, peeling back the onion layers and trying to get to the truth and some sort of conclusion. That there can't be one and all is left is speculation, is what makes this film so compelling and powerful. Everyone who sees it will judge it based on his/her own personal experiences.
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