JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival – The Last Mentsch
Having spent a lifetime concealing his heritage, aging German Holocaust survivor Marcus Schwarz (German Academy Award winner Mario Adorf) escaped Auschwitz with his life, only to exterminate his Jewishness.
With no synagogue, Jewish friends or family, the hardened old man has done such an effective job of creating a new identity that, when faced with his own mortality, the rabbis refuse his about-face appeal to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cologne. Determined to return to his birthplace and establish his ancestry, Marcus enlists the help of Gül (Katharina Derr), a brash, chain-smoking Turkish woman with a troubled history of her own. The unlikely duo sets out on a road trip to a small village on the Hungarian-Romanian border, a journey that will irrevocably change them both.
Director Pierre-Henry Salfati’s emotional narrative of friendship and healing explores the cost of forgetting the past, and the power in remembering it.
In German with English subtitles