Herr Zwilling Und Frau 

Herr Zwilling Und Frau Zuckermann


Reviewed by: Trinity

Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann is a documentary about two Jews living in Czernowitz, whose companionship keeps their own identities alive. Czernowitz has been a part of Austria, Romania, Germany and the Ukraine over the last century. Many different cultures mix in the city but there are still reminders of the wars.

Both Martin Zwilling and Rosa Roth Zuckermann have a long memory of the ordeals suffered by their friends and their family. Herr Zwilling is the eternal pessimist, described by 90-year-old Frau Zuckermann as "my knight in shining armour who comes each night bringing bad news". She is more cheerful although she still wonders why she survived when so many others did not.

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Both Zwilling and Zuckermann teach to earn a living as the meagre state pensions are not enough to live on. Many of their students are from the rich 10 per cent of the country who can afford to look further than the borders of the country.

The central characters of this film are at once both inspiring and pathetic but underneath there's still the sense that while the subject is worthy, the treatment isn't. The camera always seems to be intruding on the inhabitants of the Czernowitz, not content to be a fly on the wall, but more of a fly up the nose. Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann promises a lot but doesn't really reveal any of the apparent complexities of the situation.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Documentary about two Jews living in Austria, in the shadow of the past.

Director: Volker Koepp

Starring: Martin Zwilling, Rosa Roth Zuckermann

Year: 1999

Runtime: 126 minutes

Country: Germany


EIFF 1999

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