Mendel (1997)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Coming-of-Age, Docudrama  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Denmark, Germany, Norway  |  
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Somewhat based on the real-life experiences of director Alexander Rosler, this drama follows the painful coming of age of a young German-Jewish refugee whose traumatized family is relocated to Norway following WW II. When young Mendel Trotzig learns that he and his parents are moving to Norway, it confuses him. He does not understand that they are survivors of the concentration camps and are considered displaced persons. The family moves into a slum in a small Norwegian town. They are not particularly welcomed by their suspicious neighbors. Once there Mendel becomes increasingly troubled, not only with the puzzling new culture, but also with his family's secretiveness regarding photographs from their recent past. Eventually he is made privy to the horrific photos that were taken while they were in the camps. It is then that he learns a painful secret about his brother's true father. Mendel is tormented by the images and angered by what he considered the passivity of the Jews in allowing themselves to be slaughtered. As a backlash, Mendel becomes a school bully, trying to prove that he is brave and strong.

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Keywords

atrocity, boy, coming-of-age, director, Holocaust, refugee, survivor, war, war-atrocities