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Marking 71 Years since Kristallnacht: Special Screening of Human Failure Winner of the 2009 Avner Shalev Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival

The screening will take place in the presence of Director Michael Verhoeven

02 November 2009

(November 2, 2009 - Jerusalem) Marking 71 years since the Kristallnacht pogrom, a special screening of the film Human Failure, Winner of the 2009 Avner Shalev Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, will take place on Thursday, November 5, 2009, at 19:00 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The Award is given annually through the generosity of Michaela and Leon Constantiner.

The screening will take place in the presence of director Michael Verhoeven, who is arriving specially from Germany for the event, and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and in conjunction with the Yad Vashem Visual Center, The Goethe Institute, and the Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv Cinematheques. The three Cinematheques will all hold screenings with the director.

Media interested in attending MUST RSVP as space is limited: 02 6443410/1

About the film

What happened to all the possessions that the Jews left behind after they were loaded on trains and sent to the East: apartments, furniture, bed linens, kitchenware, cars, cash, bank accounts, and of course the offices, the stores and the factories? And what about another kind of possession: academic and governmental posts, job opportunities that opened up in their wake? Who enjoyed all this enticing and suddenly accessible Jewish bounty?

Michael Verhoeven sketches the ways in which all this property made its way through Nazi German society: how it was registered, catalogued, assessed, confiscated, added to the national treasury and later sold off for a handsome sum. Alongside local experts - archivists and historians under whose speech lies embarrassment and irony - Verhoeven interviews several victims and their children who suddenly discovered the fate of their families and possessions among organized piles of documents left behind by Nazi bureaucracy. Verhoeven tells this story in a minimalist cinematic style that adds to the sense of probing that accompanies the entire film. This feeling is heightened by the tight editing of the movie, the accumulation of discoveries about the loathsome efficiency of the Nazi apparatus, and above all, the fundamental truth that Verhoeven never takes off the table: all were partners in this crime, all reaped its fruits.

Menschliches Versagen, Germany 2009. 90 minutes, German, English and Hebrew subtitles.
Producer: Michael Verhoeven Script: Luise Lindermaier, Verhoeven, Photography: Britta Becker, Matthias Boch, Joseph McCarthy, Jokl Hausleitner.
Source: Menemsha Films, National Center for Jewish Film- Brandeis University.