The set for Volker Koepp’s latest documentary, the town of Czernowitz, has led a changeable life. It has belonged to Austria-Hungary, Rumania, the Soviet Union, German-controlled Rumania, and now Ukraine. Many nationalities have lived side by side in this town, and it used to have a flourishing Jewish community.

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Only few of the Jews from Czernowitz survived the Holocaust, but two who were born here and still live here are Herr Zwilling and Frau Zuckermann. Volker Koepp portrays these two friends who, like their hometown, have lived a long and unsettled life. As he did brilliantly in “Wittstock, Wittstock”, Koepp demonstrates his talent in this documentary for telling a piece of contemporary history through personal fates. Actually, his focus is the opposite: getting close to his protagonists and their peculiarities enables him to show how larger historical events have influenced individual lives.

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