Introduction to the film and post-screening Q&A by Dr. Norman J.W. Goda
Having fled Poland for South America during WWII, curmudgeonly Jacob Kaplan (award-winning Chilean actor Héctor Noguera) is passing his sunset years in Montevideo with his wife of 50 years, Rebecca (Nidia Telles). With his family lost in the war, he begins to take stock of his own unfulfilled life, and finds himself fed up with the local Jewish community’s disinterest in their heritage. Intent on creating a legacy, Kaplan fancies himself a Nazi hunter, targeting the reclusive German owner of a seafront restaurant (Rolf Becker), whom, based on the flimsiest of evidence, he suspects of being a war criminal. Joining the quixotic quest for justice is Kaplan’s hapless chauffeur Contreras (Néstor Guzzini), a disgraced ex-cop who also has something to prove. A bumbling investigation ensues, with hilarious and surprising results that will leave audiences contemplating nothing less than the meaning of life.
Loosely inspired by the story of the filmmaker’s own grandfather, director Álvaro Brechner deftly handles the film’s shifting seriocomic tones while maximizing the Latin scenery and music.
Directed by: Álvaro Brechner
1 hr 38 min | Uruguay, Spain, Germany | NR
Introduction to the film and post-screening Q&A with Rafael Cruzado
Junior is a nine-year-old boy growing up in a working-class housing project in Caracus with his mother Marta, a young unemployed widow, and his baby brother. Searching for an identity without a father figure, Junior feels marginalised by his mother’s preoccupation with his younger brother. When school term approaches and his yearbook photo is due to be taken, Junior wishes to change his image and straighten his stubbornly curly hair. This puts him at odds with his mother. Overwhelmed with searching for a job to provide for the family, she finds it increasingly difficult to tolerate Junior’s fixation with his looks. The more Junior tries to look sharp and make his mother love him, the more she rejects him, until he is cornered, face to face with a painful decision.
Directed by: Mariana Rondón
1 hr 33 min | Venezuela | NR
About the Guest Speaker: Norman J.W. Goda
Norman J.W. Goda is the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He studies modern European history and specializes in the history of the Holocaust, war crimes trials, and twentieth century diplomacy. He teaches a variety of courses on the Holocaust and Nazi Germany from historical and interdisciplinary perspectives. He is the author of Tomorrow the World: Hitler, Northwest Africa, and the Path toward America (1998); Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War (2007); The Holocaust: Europe, the World, and the Jews (2013). He has also co-authored, with Richard Breitman, US Intelligence and the Nazis (2005) and Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence and the Cold War (2010). He has edited a volume of international essays titled Jewish Histories of the Holocaust: New Transnational Perspectives (2014) as well as To the Gates of Jerusalem: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1945-1947 (2014), which concerns Holocaust refugees and the question of Palestine in those years. He has published articles in various journals including the Journal of Modern History, The International History Review, and The Journal of Contemporary History, and his work has been the subject of stories by the The New York Times, the Associated Press, US News and World Report, and other major news outlets. Goda has served as a consultant to the US and German governments, as well as for various radio, television, and film documentaries in the US, Europe, and Israel.
About the Guest Speaker: Rafael Cruzado
Rafael Cruzado recently graduated from the University of Florida with his MA in Latin American Studies. He specialized in Latino Studies and focused on the Dominican diaspora, particularly on the development of Dominican identities and the (re)definition of Dominicanidad.
Rafael also works at UF as the Office Manager for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, where he combines his passion for diversity with his knowledge of finance to help MCDA engage students of all backgrounds on issues of diversity and social justice. He also serves as the Finance Coordinator for the Latina Women’s League.
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