Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Red Orchestra (2020) NYJFF 2021

A clip used in Red Orchestra from one of the fiction films made on the group

This is the story of not one but two organizations set up before the Second World War called the Red Orchestra. Both were set up independently, and both fought the Nazis. The first was an organization formed by a group of friends in Germany, which included members of the military, who saw the dangers of the Nazis and tried to stop them from with in the country. The other was a Soviet based  spy organization that was originally set up to gather information from the west but changed its focus once war came to Europe.

Excellent documentary is put together using archival material, interviews with the relatives of the members and the two feature films that were made  on the separate organizations. It is a film that sucks you in and drags you revealing in its wake not only a story you may not have ever heard before but also revealing tales that echo down the decades.

This film is a stunner. Never mind that it is informational, this is a grand film that is simply compelling on its own terms. In all seriousness this is a film you'll want to curl up with on the couch and watch it over and over as you would any standard thriller. That is extremely high raise since it means that the filmmakers have made a film that makes history come to life and which connects the past to our lives here and now.

Possibly the first great film I saw in 2021. This film is a must see at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

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