Living with Memories

Ella Blumenthal: I am Here

Director: Jordy Sank

This is a Feature Length Documentary and is available online at the Encounters: South African International Documentary Film Festival from Thursday 10th June until Sunday 20th June 2021 – https://www.encounters.co.za/ #Virtuallyeverywhere – https://www.encounters.co.za/film/i-am-here/ and at select physical venues in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

After his South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) nomination for best short documentary The Locket in 2017, SA documentary film director Jordy Sank tackles a fascinating subject, the horrific memories of a still living holocaust survivor Ella Blumenthal in his directorial debut feature length documentary Ella Blumenthal: I am Here, which was part of the official selection at the 2021 Miami Jewish Film Festival https://miamijewishfilmfestival.org/ and winning the Audience Award at the 2021 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival https://www.ajff.org/film/i-am-here and now is available to watch online at the Encounters South African Documentary Film Festival.

In a plush apartment in Seapoint in Cape Town, South Africa, Holocaust survivor Ella Blumenthal celebrates her 98th birthday surrounded by her children and grandchildren. During this auspicious occasion, Ella Blumenthal reveals the secret of her horrific past as a Holocaust survivor.

Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1921, Ella Blumenthal was 18 when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939 igniting World War II. Her and her family were immediately transferred to the Warsaw ghetto until it burnt down. Ella and her niece Roma were then transferred to various concentration camps , while her survival skills were paramount she went onto survive both Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camp where eventually n 1945, World War II ended and the Holocaust survivors were freed by the Allied troops.

Director Jordy Sank films his subject matter with a compassionate gaze from Ella walking briskly on the Seapoint promenade to her emotional retelling of her horrific experiences of being a prisoner of some of the most notorious concentration camps of World War II at her 98th birthday celebration in 2019, surrounded by friends, children and grandchildren, educating them about the past.

Perceptively and rather cleverly, the flashbacks to the concentration camp horrors are told in a strategic combination of documentary news reel and beautiful animation provided by Greg Bakker, giving the documentary a palatable and heart-warming tone.

Impressively it is the shot of the 98 year old great grandmother swimming in a heated pool with the magnificent skyline of Cape Town in the background as her voice over describes the relief at being rescued by the allied troops and being brought to a camp with well-made up beds and running water, basic necessities which we nowadays take for granted.

Ella Blumenthal: I am Here is a captivating and brilliantly shot documentary about an extraordinary woman, a 98 year old Jewish woman who came to South Africa to make a new life and it offers a message of hope and forgiveness as she recalls how her and her grandson visited Auschwitz in 2004 to make peace with the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. Ella’s message is simple, love everyone and be grateful to be alive.

This is an amazing documentary, skilfully educating a new generation about the survivors of the Holocaust and a formidable woman who has learnt to live life through memories as most of her family from Poland were killed during World War II. With the exception of her niece who now lives in New York, Ella Blumenthal is one of the few survivors of a generation that got brutally obliterated by pure hatred and rampant Anti-Semitism.  

Highly recommended viewing and an important documentary to watch, Ella Blumenthal: I am Here gets a documentary film rating of 8 out of 10. Catch this insightful documentary online at the Encounters Film Festival –

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
June 2021
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
  • A24 Buys Paul Mescal Tearjerker ‘Aftersun,’ Charlotte Wells’ Hit Movie, Out of Cannes
    A24 has snapped up the Paul Mescal-led tearjerker “Aftersun” out of the Cannes Film Festival. The distributor has picked up North American rights for the movie, which premiered as part of the Cannes’ Critics’ Week section to rave reviews last week. The movie stars Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio. “Aftersun” is produced by Adele Romanski, […]
    msravindran
  • Johnny Depp Loses Bid to Dismiss Amber Heard’s Counterclaim
    A Virginia judge on Tuesday denied Johnny Depp’s motion to dismiss Amber Heard’s counterclaim, ruling that the issue should be decided by the jury. The counterclaim alleges that Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, defamed Heard and damaged her career when he accused her and her friends of perpetrating an “abuse hoax.” Heard’s side rested their case […]
    gmaddaus
  • Sci-Fi Film ‘UFO Sweden’ Lures Buyers at Cannes Film Market (EXCLUSIVE)
    REinvent International Sales has closed major territory sales on “UFO Sweden,” a science fiction movie adventure from Crazy Pictures, a Swedish film collective whose past credits includes the 2018 hit movie “The Unthinkable.” Described as a mix between “X-Files” and “Stranger Things,” “UFO Sweden” is set in a small town and follows a teenage rebel […]
    elskes
  • Jen Psaki, Former White House Press Secretary, to Launch Streaming MSNBC Show in 2023
    One of the news industry’s worst-kept secrets is finally seeing the light of day. Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary who resigned from the role a few weeks ago, is slated to join MSNBC in the fall, where she will host a new streaming program that is expected to launch in the first quarter […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava Named New CEO of Splice (EXCLUSIVE)
    Splice, the online music marketplace for rights-cleared sounds and beats, has hired Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava as its new CEO. Founder and CEO Steve Martocci will transition to executive chairman and chief strategy officer. Srivastava arrives from Adobe, where she oversaw and led the company’s $9 billion Creative Cloud business along with building and scaling platforms […]
    Thania Garcia
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90