Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tracking Edith (2017) NYJFF 2018
The film is a record of director Peter Stephan Jungk of his Aunt photographer Edith Tudor-Hart. While he and is family was aware that she was a famous photographer, they were completely unaware that she was a Soviet spy- and not just any spy but the woman who brought together the Cambridge Five- the group that included Kim Philby.
Fantastic portrait of a woman, a family and of a time when the commies were seen with suspicion by some and savior by others. For me the film was enlightening since for the first time I really got a sense of the whys and hows things like the spy ring happened. There is a real effort to explore what people are thinking. I am haunted by one of the comments one of the interviewees says when he explains how many people fell in love with communism and decided to spy for the Soviets - none of which had been there. The implication being that if they really saw what the Soviet system was they wouldn't have done it. Its a comment that hangs over the film and makes you consider "what if..."
Deftly handled and beautifully put together with a mix of photos, talking heads and animation TRACKING EDITH is as compelling as a film as I've seen in quite awhile. Rarely ave I been engaged with a film on so many levels- and more importantly rarely have I wanted to start the film over again as soon as I finished it.
I can't recommend this film enough.
See it wen it plays one of two times on January 22 at te New York Jewish Film Festival. For more information and tickets go here.