"Do butterflies have a soul? "asked his mother. Forced to rid her workshop after her death, haunted by this question, Anna Célia Kendall-Yatzkan will find the answer in the jumble of various papers, diaries, self-portraits and even an irretrievable piano left by the deceased. She unearths buried secrets, gets lost in questions about her origins, consults the Internet to pierce the opacity of this past.

A moving and profound film

From the origin of his name to his Jewishness, a section of family denial arises from nothingness. From surprise to surprise, the filmmaker reconstitutes, little by little, the elements of the puzzle that she did not know. "I feel in exile of myself"she sighs in the image. She chose to stage herself in this "inquiry of memory" as to reinstate her place in this line, remained in the shadows, from which nothing apparent has been bequeathed to her.

One by one, from miraculous circumstances, she goes back to Lithuanian Yiddishland, to her grandfather, whom she had never heard of, Samuel Yatzkan, founder of the Yiddish daily. Haynt, in Warsaw, then in Paris. The hereditary picture takes shape. Cousins ​​all over the world are discovering each other, finding each other, comparing their scattered memories. Anna Celia Kendall-Yatzkan leaves with large images, giant photos of her ancestors, she placarded where they lived, in the villages where the pogroms flourished, where Yiddish was suffocated.

It puts its footsteps in those of the disappeared, on the snow of large deserted plains which covers vast cemeteries. Silence and forgetfulness were the shroud of this multitude of the tortured. The moving film, deep, full of sorrow, of this inconsolute tearing them out of the night and the fog of their erasure.

Jean-Claude Raspiengeas


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