Directed by Gabriele Guidi in his first work, the Italian-Czech co-production Terezin arrives at the cinema for Memorial Day, on the true story of the musicians interned in the ghetto on the outskirts of Prague.
Among the films released on January 26, on the occasion of Remembrance Day, there is also Terezinfirst work of the producer Gabriel Guidi (son of art of Johnny Dorelli e Catherine Spak), which through the story of two Jewish musicians living together, the Italian clarinetist Antonio and the Czechoslovakian violinist Martina, deported from Prague to Terezin, 60 kilometers from the capital, together with other intellectuals and artists, tells one of the most subtle and atrocious pages of the Nazi extermination of the Jewish people. Made with the patronage of the Italian Jewish Communities and in co-production with the Czech Republic, the film was shot right in the places of the ghetto, active between November 1941 and May 1944. Terezin was the “model” Jewish settlement, in Nazi propaganda, from which in reality the trains of deportees left daily for Treblinka and Auschwitz, based on the lists that the Jewish representatives themselves were forced to draw up, while those who did not die of typhus or the conditions in which they were forced to live and work, he was used, as long as he served, as a laborer or entertainer and contributed in spite of himself to the great hoax implemented by the Nazis, who at the “Terezin baths”, as the ghetto in the former Theresienstadt fortress was called, welcomed even the 23rd June 1944 a visit from the International Red Cross, who noticed nothing. There were many artists and intellectuals who, not only from Czechoslovakia, but from Germany, Austria, from the whole area of Central Europe, spent in some cases almost four years within the walls of the fortress, before being freed or crammed on the cattle cars in the trains bound for the East, towards extermination.
Prisoner art and music as a weapon of spiritual redemption in Terezin
The characters we see in Guidi’s film, apart from the young couple, really existed. Before being murdered in Auschwitz, the conductor passed within the walls of the ghetto Rafael Schachterwhich by “courtesy” of the jailers put together an orchestra with the few means available and with the talented musicians of the camp, and represented in front of prisoners and hierarchs, even in the presence of Adolf Eichmann, a memorable version of the Requiem Of Giuseppe Verdimaking music a weapon of redemption, an affirmation of identity and a cry of condemnation towards the torturers, the composer Hans Krásawho completed and performed the opera for children right in captivity Brundibarthe composer and conductor Viktor Ullmann and many others. Initially, the Nazi regime found it undiplomatic to make the artists and intellectuals of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire disappear all together, so it used them for the great performance staged for the eyes of the world (the internees were also forced to create and appear in a propaganda film), without knowing that many, before disappearing, would have left written or painted testimony of life in the ghetto and the abuses they suffered. Terezin is also sadly famous for the large amount of children that they were locked up there and that, except for very few cases, they were killed in the gas chambers of their last destination. They are also mentioned in the film, where we see them hunched over drawing paper or engaged in singing in Brundibar. The drawings and writings with which they recounted life in the ghetto, over 4000, hidden and saved from destruction, are on display in the Jewish museum in Prague.
The actors of the film and the historical truth
The adherence to the historical truth of the facts is striking in the film, obviously told with the due poetic license, but without betraying reality. From the history of the camp it is evident the will of the Reich to erase not only every physical trace of the hated Jews, but also to annihilate the offspring of their best minds, which would have enriched the world in which we live, as the lucky few did, writers, poets, composers and directors, who managed to emigrate and save themselves. In Terezin no bloody scenes are seen, and the executions and deaths are off-screen, but the film effectively renders the spiritual struggle of men stripped of everything, who to art and music, the heritage of all humanity beyond borders and barriers, entrusted their cry for freedom. To interpret Antonio is Mauro Conteactor already seen in films such as The man we love too much say André Techiné, A private matter e On my skin. Her beloved in the film is the Czech actress Dominika Zeleníkováwhile in the role of master Schächter offers a passionate test Cesare Bocci. They are also part of the Italian cast Alessio Boni e Antonia Liskovain the role of the caretaker who pays dearly for her concern for the children. Terezin is produced by Holy Versace con Gianluca Curtiwho entrust this film with the task of reawakening a memory that is now blurred, which we have a duty to keep alive and pass on, even and perhaps above all in dark and conflict-ravaged times such as the age in which we live.
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