Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vanessa: Forgotten Transports to Estonia

Forgotten Transports to Estonia was one of the first films I marked to see as I flipped through this year’s CIFF film guide. I enjoy learning personal stories from and about those involved in WW II or any historic moment, really.

One of greatest thing about seeing this film on Tuesday, March 24th was staying after, listening to the director explain more about the film in detail. The director of this film, Lukas Pribyl, through a grant, researched, created and directed this documentary. Forgotten Transports to Estonia is actually one of four 90 minutes films he has developed focusing on single WW II/Holocaust topics. Pribyl only uses raw footage and personal interviews to tell this story which made the documentary all the more interesting.

Post screening, Pribyl explained some of the finer details of making this film including the months and in some cases year’s to track down specific photos that would make or break a story and the traveling involved with this documentary. He traveled to over 30 countries researching and interviewing for Forgotten Transports to Estonia. And I don’t even want to mention the hours spent on the phone.

Forgotten Transports to Estonia is a documentary focusing on pack survival. Pribyl focuses specifically on a group of young women around the ages of 19-25 all placed into one labor together. They quickly form a bond with one another through the course of the war, continually looking after one another. Oddly, this group was never divided nor separated through multiple moves to various camps. Through each other's support, it was as if the holocaust was occurring around them more than directly affecting them. In many of the photos shown, most of the woman looked healthy and at times happily smiling, even through the most chaotic terrible circumstances. This was one characteristic that was focused on throughout the film.

Overall I enjoyed the documentary. It really touched on so many labor and death camps throughout the Balkins that up until now, I had no idea existed. I thought the film was directed well and the story was captivating. Unfortunately, the music score was constant and overwhelming; sometimes playing louder than the individual talking. It was one distraction I could have done without.

For more information on this film and the other films in the series, check out

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