Vienna's Lost Daughters

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This film is about life.Anita, Dorit, Eva, Hennie, Lizzy, Susanne, Susy und Rosalie live in New York, where they have started families and built up lives.Vienna's lost daughters grew up Jewish in Vienna and had to flee suddenly in 1938/39.Director Mirjam Unger encounters them with impressive openness and emotion, providing insight into and a look back at extremely personal areas of their lives.They have decided to open the doors to their pasts in Vienna-a Vienna that lives on in New York. The protagonists are in constant motion, and they allow the viewer to take part in their varied daily lives.Rosalie talks to her South American hairdresser about what it means to be an immigrant in New York. Both of them have lived in this city for many years, it has become their new home because the old one apparently didn't want them anymore.The center of Eva's life is now in the Bronx, and she regularly takes the subway to her yoga class in Manhattan. Hennie stands in her bedroom and rummages through a cardboard box among souvenirs from Vienna. While doing so she thinks aloud about what her two sons will probably do with them after she's gone.Lizzy and her daughters and granddaughter talk about neuroses and the effects of being driven from your home country and genocide. When visiting a friend, also from Vienna, later the talk turns to love at a certain age and amusing old gossip about their acquaintances.The film catches the twinkle in their eyes and the smile at the corners of their mouths, the openness of their faces, their tears when remembering the unforgettable, and it shows how bridge, Wienerlieder and baking the best Sacher Torte in New York can make these memories bearable.The film's takes a close look at the minor details and physical effects of these women's pasts across hemispheres and generations. Observations about everyday life in America and gestures and expressions instill a sense of their attachment to and what it was like to be torn from Austrian culture, that of the perpetrators.Memories of the injustice, flight, the loss of their family and friends cannot simply be turned on and off at will. They're part of their lives, part of the present. Sometimes they come to the surface with surprising force, while on other days they're buried beneath reminiscences of a happy childhood, a birthday, a children's game. Mirjam Unger searches for answers to her questions about both their generation and her own, that of the grandchildren. In what way do the former, now thoroughly American, reflect Vienna, which is part of their family's history?The members of the older generation are the ones who make this startling look at Vienna possible. What seems to be a pleasant sightseeing tour on an excursion ship soon turns foreign, almost threatening.The camera accompanies them discreetly, sometimes turning away: The women select the situation and even the language they use, which melodically alternates between German and English.This not only gives the protagonists the greatest possible personal latitude, it also enables the members of the audience to consider things for themselves. --© Official Site


Critic Reviews for Vienna's Lost Daughters

All Critics (1) | Fresh (1)

  • Filled with warmth, humor, tenderness and insight. It ultimately finds just the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them intellectually as well as emotionally.

    Apr 23, 2009 | Rating: 8.9/10 | Full Review…

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