Thursday, March 26, 2015

HRWFF 15 Film Review - The One That Got Away

Thomas Beck lives for today. He does not dwell in the past and has not time for hate. His philosophy is to spend as much as he has or on occasion more than he has and surround himself with young people.  Now in his 80's he still does 50 pushups a day as part of his callisthenics. Tomi developed this attitude due to the many times he faced death directly as a child.  He is a survivor always doing what he needed to survive along with a knack to leave a situation before it turned completely for the worst.

In his teens Thomas was separated from his family and interred by the Nazi's in a camp for children in Hungary, The children were given very limited rations many worried about the fate of their parents and grandparents.  It's in the camp that he meet Edith Greiman. They would spend their nights huddled together. It was through their contact that each were able to survive the situation and the war.
Each were approached by camp guards and given the opportunity to escape arranged by concerned relatives. They did not know whether or not the other survived until 60 years later when they both settled in Australia, Thomas in Sydney, Edith in Melbourne.

Edith is the worrier to Tomi optimistic outlook on life. She was taken away from the Nazi's at 14 to be interred in the same camp as Thomas. After her escape arranged by a favourite Uncle, Edith  spend much of the remainder of the war hiding in a cellar at a farmhouse. She had one book to read Robinson Caruso that she must have read hundreds of times before it was safe to come out during daylight hours. At the films opening her Husband and father of her four children Saul had just passed leaving Edith in a depressed state. She was not alone but lonely in her big empty home.

Directors Sam Lawlor and Lindsay Pollock started with Thomas Beck on the project. Due to the film Thomas was able to reconnect with Edith. Thomas had not returned to Hungary or Europe since the war but was willing to go back to tell his story for the documentary. The directors use a mix of old pictures and live exploring by Thomas to old and mainly abandoned sites in Hungary where negative events or deaths occurred in his family.  One particularly sad location is a nunnery where there is a memorial for a group of girls killed after a raid by the Nazi. Thomas finds his half sister in the group photo of the girls.

The One that Got Away is a touching story of two survivors who's worlds were torn apart in their early teens. They sought comfort in each other during their darkest days and both managed to live full and satisfying lives on the other side of the planet from the site of their worst memories. They did not know whether the other had survived but through the documentary were able to reconnect and rekindle the close feelings they had in the Camp three generations ago. It is a film that I can definately recommend.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

The One that Got Away | Sam Lawlor and Lindsay Pollock | Hungary /U.K. | 2013 | 70 Minutes.

World War II, Jewish, Nazi, Australia, interred, hiding, fugitive, survivor.

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