The Flat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Flat Reviews

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December 31, 2015
Watch this with Labyrinth of Lies. It's amazing what people don't want to know.
½ December 24, 2015
When his aged grandmother dies, Arnon Goldfinger and his family need to clear her flat of over half a century's worth of collected possessions. What they unearth amongst her papers astonishes and puzzles them and so Goldfinger sets out to solve a mystery that the family never suspected. This brilliant documentary leads a man on a journey of discovery about his family and to some unexpected and difficult interviews with people who knew his grandparents. All families keep secrets and here we see a fascinating account of what happens when these secrets are gradually uncovered. The fact that Arnon Goldfinger manages to do so sensitively and daringly is a great testament to his skill. There is no blame or accusation or sensationalism, just a desire to uncover the truth and find out what really happened to bring his grandparents from Berlin to Tel Aviv. It was particularly moving to see the effect of this gradual unearthing has on Goldfinger's mother who clearly had no real idea of significant aspects of her own past but, after some initial denial, deals with them with grace and strength.
August 11, 2015
Hard to understand this documentary.. not because of the film, but because of the content... Jews that are friends with SS officer? guess it comes down to human nature, and wanting to accept a person as an individual...
June 26, 2015
A very interesting movie, raising lots of questions about guilt, how to deal with one's family's history, and how to understand one's family within history.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 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.
Super Reviewer
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."
Super Reviewer
½ 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 +
½ March 16, 2014
Wow such an interesting film. Makes you really think question the ability for seemingly reasonable people to become true evil. Thought provoking.
February 9, 2014
This is a FU@KING GREAT documentary. A must-see!
November 29, 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.
September 11, 2013
mildly interesting. not surprising
August 24, 2013
Dramatic documentary is fascinating right from the start, packing several emotional punches throughout. Arnon Goldfinger helps his mom clean up his late grandmother's house in Tel Aviv only to discover through letters and photos that his grandparents had a somewhat unique connection to a purported Nazi head and his wife before, during and after the war. The truth begins to unravel before our very eyes as The two travel to Germany and begin a journey of discovery when they come into contact with those who may have known more about his family's legacy.
August 24, 2013
Interesting twist that would devastate a family once discovered.
August 17, 2013

I watched this acclaimed documentary on Netflix last night. It's the story of an elderly German-Jewish woman named Gerda Goldfinger who died at 98 in a Tel Aviv apartment three years ago whose grandson Arnon is an Israeli film director. He decided to film, just for fun, the closing of her flat and the disposition of her belongings amongst the family members. But amongst the useless (to anyone but Gerda) memorabilia was a stack of Nazi propaganda newspapers that was a complete surprise to everyone in the family. That led Arnon and his mother Hannah on an amateur detective journey into her mother's and his grandmother's past life that yielded some shocking truths. Including that her father Kurt Tuchler (Gerda's first husband) was a close friend -even after the war - of Leopold von Mildnstein, who was Adolph Eichmann's first superior in the Nazi party.

It's an absorbing story, shot in real time so the audience discovers the new truths at the very same time that Arnon and Hannah do. It also shows the two gradually piercing the veil of denial amongst the friends and relatives of Gerda they encounter on their journey who lived through - and survived - the dark times of National Socialism. Even Hannah was unwilling to go too far beyond the veil. Which explains why her son Arnon, the director of the enterprise, wasn't either. Hopefully, some other director, with the right amount of emotional distance from the story, can turn it into a drama someday, without Hollywood-izing it.
½ 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.
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
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 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?
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