THE FLAT (HA-DIRA) (Arnon Goldfinger, 2011)
Clearview Chelsea Cinema
260 West 23rd St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
Sunday, April 22, 6:30; Monday, April 23, 3:45; Thursday, April 26, 3:45; Saturday, April 28, 5:30
After his grandmother’s death at the age of ninety-eight, filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger (The Komediant) brought a camera to her Tel Aviv apartment to document going through the things she left behind and delve into Gerda Tuchler’s long life, which included growing up in Germany prior to WWII and escaping to Palestine in the 1930s. While opening drawers and closets, Goldfinger discovers a stack of Nazi propaganda magazines, soon learning a secret about Gerda and her parents that shocks him and his family. And in investigating further, he finds out yet more about this fascinating yet troubling relationship that has direct links to the highest levels of the S.S., coming upon intriguing details that he must decide whether to reveal or keep buried, well aware how they could affect other people’s lives and memories. The Flat is a compelling research procedural that Goldfinger spent five years putting together, with no intention of stopping, despite the potential hurt it could bring to his friends and family, particularly his mother. But it is not cruelty or revenge so much as a thirst for knowledge and the truth that drives him, no matter the cost, as he explores his Jewish grandparents’ questionable ties to their German roots. Last July, Goldfinger was named Best Director of a Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival, with the jury noting, “This is a beautifully composed film about uncomfortable truths and the challenge of confronting them. Mr. Goldfinger undertakes expert research and leads us through his findings in a way that is not only gentle and sensitive, but also compelling and creative.” The Flat, which is screening at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22, 23, 26, and 28, is indeed all of those things and more.