“Welcome to the heart of darkness.” With these words Yigal Schwartz introduces us to what remains of his former childhood home, now an overgrown ruin, to which he refers as a sadomasochistic prison. It is the place where his, let’s say, “dysfunctional” family resided. The stables are where his father used to beat his sister up. Shadows is a film about second-generation Holocaust survivors, an identity apparently so strong that the film mentions it after introducing each of its three protagonists with their (former) job and family status.
Shadows shows three second-generation survivors who not only bear the scars of the traumas of their parents, but in turn are sources of scars on their own children. Yigal Schwartz’s mother took part in the death marches and was abused and raped. She was the only one in the family to be part of these marches and Schwartz struggles to understand how this was possible. At a family gathering the taboo of the issue is evident. The history is too painful to be recounted and a satisfactory answer is not really provided.
Eitan Michaeli, a retired security officer, has a problem dealing with any authority and with his mother, Hava. She is on oxygen permanently and very fragile. He visits her dutifully but is unable to express even the slightest form of affection. While his mother tries to open things up and discuss their mutual feelings before she leaves this world, Michaeli feels it’s too late for that and frankly looks forward to the relief her passing will bring.
«Shadows shows three second-generation survivors who not only bear the scars of the traumas of their parents, but in turn are sources of scars on their own children.»
Miri Arazi, a legal psycho-graphologist and unwanted daughter, recounts how her parents always tracked what she was saying and doing and made sure she understood what a disappointing good-for-nothing she was. While revisiting the apartment where they lived and the building from which her father jumped, she recounts her father’s abuse. She also listens to her father’s recordings of his war experiences – apparently what he could not share with people he could share with a machine.
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