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We welcome your comments about Eddie Vitch movie

56 Comments

  1. Fatymatou Dia Saleem

    Dear Sigal,

    Thank you again so much for making such a beautiful and powerful film, and thank you for sharing it with our community.

    One of my favorite quotes is by a Lebanese poet named Khalil Gibran, and he says “you give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly.” Thank you for “truly giving”.

    I also wanted to extend, through you, my sincere thanks to Eddie Vitch’s family for sharing with the world a piece of their story, a piece of their lives.

    As I walked out of the auditorium, my mind kept going back to a few lines of poetry I wrote almost a year ago about heroes, because you are right, heroes are not found in the neat black and white boxes, they come in every shape and in every shade.

    Thank you for inspiring me!
    Fatyma

    ———————————————————————————————–

    Lagos, March 1st 2017

    My heroes are not made of stone
    They do not sit on a pedestal
    High up
    Majestic, grandiose
    Yet the lightest touch
    Could topple them
    And bring them to pieces

    My heroes are made of blood, flesh and bones
    They breath, they sweat, they cry, they laugh
    My heroes are not infallible…
    They make mistakes so I can learn
    My heroes may succeed…
    But it is in failure that they reveal their character
    My heroes are not found where you seek to find them
    For they do not seek to be found
    My heroes are not celebrities…
    They are the unknown who inspire me though they do not know me

    My heroes are not made of stone
    My heroes are human
    They live, they love, they die…
    And in death, they live in me

    Fatymatou Dia Saleem

    Reply
  2. Adina

    I wanted to convey to you how incredibly beautiful, powerful and compelling the movie was to me. Your family’s story was so fascinating- I love how you came together with your cousins ( that you never knew) to share Eddie Vitch’s story. His life story was fascinating from his iconic and prolific Hollywood illustrations to the concealing of his Jewish identity and vast comedic performances with infamous Nazis in the audience- enjoying his brilliant art.

    The irony was profound and sad but at the same time elevating and hopeful. One of the most powerful moments for me – was the reunion of Eddie Vitch’s granddaughter and your mother- how devastating it was to know that your father never knew that his brother survived the war. This was heartbreaking but at the same time triumphant – through the survival of the brothers a legacy of family would one day be reunited and together capture this incredible story in such a wonderful film.

    Thank you for personally inviting me to this beautiful film- it was an honor.

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  3. Matthew and Sophie

    What a compelling story, wonderfully told.

    I loved your open question about the right to be forgotten. I thought the conversation between the German historian and Vitch’s granddaughter took us to that line and then adeptly left it for us to reflect – the idea of “clearing his name” when the documentary would itself broaden awareness of Eddie’s story and the ambiguity of his actions and motivations.

    It felt very new to have an individual narrative that didn’t directly follow the broader, well-trodden one of heroes and villains. Easier in many ways to see ourselves more honestly in his story, and realize how impossible it is to see how we would behave and why.

    Congratulations on the film, and wishing you every success with it.

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  4. Maya

    I so enjoyed the movie, fascinating. Yaffa’s Mom interview will stay with me, she is so eloquent and strong. she misses her husband so much and is so torn that he couldn’t connect with his brother… and my heart goes out to all of his family who would have loved to meet him while alive. And I can’t help say that i wanted to scream at the screen: YES HE IS A HERO. He was able to survive and live his life against all odds: He followed his calling, was able to live his art reinventing himself over and over. He survived so much trauma… starting from when he lost his family, had to flee Paris and thought he found safety in Hollywood then was evicted from the US. Then performing in the midst of Nazism with a gun pointed at him-his life constantly hanging at the whim of armed people around him. Then being denied asylum in Sweden, incarcerated upon re-entering France from Germany, rejected by the woman he loved… one can imagine the survivor guilt… Yet he rebuilt his life. Many others rebuilt their life and stayed angry and sour. He wasn’t. maybe that was his coping mechanism? Who knows. Isn’t every person who survives circumstances so adverse with grace a hero? Fascinating. Thank you I’m so glad I saw it!

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  5. Jeff Eidelman, SLO, CA

    Eddie Vitch to me was a man who had great talent. A man whose life was in danger. Although he got caught up in the limelight, as many would in his shoes, I felt that he was true to himself and his performance for the Nazi’s was nothing more than staying alive, any way he could. He tried to leave and have asylum in Sweden when he had the chance. I don’t know how I would do anything differently if I was him. Until we walk in his shoes we will never know. However the French man who was rather down on him [in the film], I don’t agree with his position, although good to put all sides in the documentary.
    Anyway, I loved your film. I felt like I could reach out and touch Vitch, and I wanted to actually do that. I felt the same way about Groucho Marx.

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  6. Marzena, Poland

    Vitch’s biography allows perceiving the stereotype of our thinking about war. If you weren’t a victim, you were probably a collaborator. We carry a picture of the Jew, victim and the German, executioner. In the meantime, this is not the case. It seems to be normal: there is an artist and a viewer, but from the back of the head we have a relationship between the victim and the oppressor. And we are confused. In order to sort it out we tilt to the explanation that he must have collaborated. We seek an easy explanation: white and black.
    His biography is as disturbing as it is remarkable. Fascinating in that it does not fit the usual narratives of war. His biography prompts the search for explanations outside the formulaic patterns.

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  7. Ellie Rosenfeld

    The maxim “truth is stranger than fiction” was never more powerfully on show than in this fine documentary of a talented, complex artist who survived the Shoah by hiding in plain sight…if a Hollywood script writer had sketched the plotlines of Eddie Vitch’s life and pitched it to film studios, it would have been rejected as wholly implausible. This documentary is also a beautiful portrait of adult children trying to posthumously unravel the mysteries of their father’s extraordinary life, a film that stays in the mind long after viewing.

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  8. Sybella Blencowe

    Congratulations on the Newsletter and all the successful screenings of this wonderful film. I am currently visiting Berlin and often think about the story of Eddie and his family in this city of immense contradictions. A city still showing signs of its destruction, and its ghosts very much in evidence. Yet its vibrancy and sense of hope shine through. To me, there are such strong parallels with the Vitch story and what we can take from it. Congratulations to the film makers for expressing these complex and subtle concepts so well and in such a moving way.

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  9. Eduardo Newark

    Last night (November 11) I had the immense pleasure of watching your great documentary In Buenos Aires. Of course, it made me think about different aspects of human being related to survival, and a couple of thoughts came to my mind, which I was lucky enough to voice them through the microphone. I think I could express my thoughts fully, in spite of the short time we had. Ethics (which could be defined as the consequences of our actions upon others) are a product of culture. But first of all, since the moment we are born, the key is survival. I would say it’s the part of us more linked to our biology. And, as were learn from animals, camouflage is a tool that can be used to fool the enemy and hide the differences, that could become lethal. In my field (psychoanalysis) they found related names to this, like resilience. But, as all concepts, it leaves out some notions, like the biology of camouflage.
    I hope you will have an enormous success in the future showings of “Vitch.”
    You and your movie deserve it.

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  10. Julia

    Fascinating, thought provoking movie, questions that can never be answered and to judge Vitch for his survival instinct would be criminal. Thank you to all involved for sharing the life of this artist with us.

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  11. Georgie

    A fascinating movie! I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to be in his shoes. I’m glad someone was able to share his story, and I have learned a lot from it!

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  12. Natasha De Jesus

    What a fascinating and inspiring documentary. I never got to meet my grandfather so watching this film was a great way for me to learn all about him. I loved this film and I will never get tired of watching it.

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  13. Janette

    What an amazing, thrilling and touching documentary on Eddie Vitch’s life!
    The tough conditions Vitch had to experience for survival was very emotional…a story that should be screened for the whole world to view!
    His great talent in Theatre and Art allowed him to reconnect with life.
    One not to miss!
    Janette

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  14. Maddi Fenton

    This film is an extraordinary experience. It follows the story of a Jewish artist, but more than that it depicts the true character of strength required to survive and live with and within darkness. Despite his constant life in the spotlight, he was able to survive during a time of extreme horror. He suffered loss and lived with the burden of shame and guilt yet none of this was ever evident. His daughters said they never felt he was a burdened man. He never allowed the darkness he endured to dim the bright lives he longed for for those he loved. This is a story that has you thinking long after the credits stop rolling. It is a different point of view on survival during this time period which makes it a valuable teaching resource. It depicts a different type of pain in surviving the Second World War and Holocaust. There is no room for one to judge anyone else and how they choose to survive and live. You respect the life he led and the way in which he carried his decisions with him until the end never breaking character, like a true artist. But more than an artist though you appreciate the man and the mystery Eddie Vitch was.

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  15. Jane

    I saw the film with my 14YO son and it sparked many conversions about the choices people make and how our passions impact those choices. It has been so long since a film sparked such lengthy debate and discussion. Such a compelling, beautiful, complex, captivating, honest, brave film. There was no sugar coating of the story and you really had a sense of the families search for truth in all its beauty and ugliness.

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  16. Kevin Whittle

    Deeply moving and entirely captivating. I greatly respect that the producers did not shy away from the more controversial and confronting interviews. There is clearly no agenda here apart from a devoted search for truth. The work allows the audience the dignity and intelligence to form our own opinion. A surreal journey in the shoes of a trouper who survived the horrors of Nazi occupied Europe

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  17. Jennifer

    This film is very thought provoking, the vintage footage is amazing – as is the story of his life and his daughters’ search for answers about how and why he survived during the Nazi regime. Certainly challenges you to think about how each of us would respond to the same situation. How would I choose to survive? What choices would I make in the same situation?
    Congratulations to all involved.

    A great Q&A at the Classic cinema last night in Melbourne.

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  18. Marc

    Great movie! really moving and interesting at the same time,
    Congrats

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  19. Terry

    I just watch a second viewing of the movie Vitch. This time I was with my 15 year old niece and wondered what she would make of it. While she played with her phone for a large part of the beginning, eventually she put it down and did not take her eyes off the screen! I had to laugh when she said afterwards that it was an awesome story and there should be a fiction movie made of it or even serialised like Game of Thrones. “After all Eddie is very much like Jon Snow, using all his cunning just to survive,” she remarked.

    Thank you for allowing us to see this thinking person’s movie and we wish you every success.

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  20. Signe Johnson

    Vitch is a beautiful film!

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  21. Andrew M.

    OVERALL
    The documentary very successfully highlighted the highly regarded entertainment achievements of Eddie Vitch over his lifetime, including dependence of his caricature and mime artistry abilities to survive World War 2.

    Furthermore, the documentary was enriched by Eddie Vitch’s now surviving daughters search for objective reasoning of his Nazi Germany survival strategy during the World War 2 period. The survival of the Levkovitch Family members and their whereabouts, during and post-World War 2 was heart felt and brings us all back to the basic values of life…family love and survival in a ever changing humanitarian society

    Further Constructive feedback:
    a) the documentary is lengthy and may benefit by editing without losing the impact of reality
    b) Eddie Vitch’s surviving daughters have strong feelings for their father but remain in search for further detail.
    c) The Historian who believed in no uncertain terms that if Vitch revealed his Jewish heritage to the Nazi Germans, he would have been immediately executed….SURVIVAL , PROFOUND COURAGE and SELF BELIEF are attributes of Eddie Vitch that will remain with us forever ; this point is a potential one to conclude the documentary.

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  22. Grant Roberts

    Must see viewing; a compelling docu-drama.

    A stunning example of a true life human interest film.

    The amazing tale of one man’s quest for his own survival through his art & to find his family, from within a gilded cage during the all encompassing second world war.

    The story of a family’s search to uncover their father’s legacy & find peace with his past.

    So many questions arise as to how events unfolded in Vitch’s favour…? And the fact that documentation exists of his journeys through the years & events allows you to envelope yourself fully without compunction.

    The only film to see this year. Thankyou Lisa for allowing me into this small window of your family’s life.

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  23. Trudy Shawe

    I dont know how to express my thoughts about this documentary. I was moved to the core to see those family members searching for the truth and being confronted with feelings of loss, confusion, and the sadness for those who did not survive. This was in strong contrast to the footage of Hollywood and Chorus Line girls, with Vitch seemingly floating through life entertaining everyone with his jokes and comedy acts. My friends and I discussed this movie for hours afterwards. We think it brought up more questions than answers!

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  24. Louise Miller Frost

    A fascinating and unusual story of survival during the Holocaust. The contrast of his showbiz life, and the horror and constant danger happening around him – and his subsequent life in a small city in Australia. Thank you so much to Lisa and the Levkovitch family for sharing his story – and your story – with the world. The challenges and decisions he faced give us pause for thought about how we would act in such situations.

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  25. Sybella

    A very moving film which said so much about the destruction of war and its profound impact on families.
    This film has universal appeal not only in telling a story of one man’s struggle for survival but all those who must make choices in a dangerous and threatening world.

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  26. Judy

    Such a fascinating story of survival encompassing courage, humour, heartache, love and more. Thank you Lisa for inviting me to this movie and ‘into’ your family. I encourage everyone to go and see it.

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  27. David Baden

    A very well documented film, highlighting the tragic events of the times and one man’s determination to survive with a semblance of normality against all odds.

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  28. Helen

    “Vitch” is such a thought provoking and moving story. What would any of us do in the face of adversity in order to survive?

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  29. Jagoda

    Amazing movie about fascinating person. I also love the bit about family reunion, really touching. I really hope “Vitch” will be seen by as many people as possible!

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  30. Sandy Klein

    I throughly enjoyed this documentary about Ignace Levkovitch, a Jew, who gave the term “Hiding in Plain Sight, a new meaning. “Vitch” was a multi-talented performer and artist whose story, narrated by his daughters and others, is fascinating, albeit, controversial. The documentary is very thought provoking and watching it twice left me with more questions than answers.

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  31. Rakefet Vanderman

    Absolutely brilliant movie. How everything intertwined. It clearly shows a tremendous work of putting hundreds of little pieces from ALL OVER. A masterpiece. The conflict is so vivid it clearly leaves you with the torn essence of being a survivor. It is an amazing work, it showed me something I wasn’t aware of before that now I fully understand how controversial it is to be a survivor, how painful, how complicated. Thank you! Amazing!

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  32. Steve Klein

    “Just finished watching the film for the second time. It was so well done we couldn’t stop watching. The short film clips mixed with the family interviews were excellent.”

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  33. Janayah Ivy

    A detailed and nuanced look at a complicated issue, I found this exploration of moral grey area enthralling. The measures Vitch goes to in order to survive–hiding in plain sight while performing for and entertaining the very people who could kill him (and sent his family, among millions of others, to death)–this atypical story is unlike one I have ever seen. There is no singular answer when questioning how Eddie Vitch miraculously survived, and this film brilliantly investigates both history and memory when trying to construct truth.

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  34. Rabbi David Lazar

    I was so moved by this movie! Profound questions about identity, judgement, and longing of the family. I loved it so much!

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  35. Rebecca

    This film was interesting, moving and thought provoking all at the same time. It was well researched and I loved seeing the original films. I really enjoyed it and only wanted to find out more about Vitch’s fascinating life!

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  36. Yifat bronstein

    Saw the movie once and am waiting for a second chance- the story raises lots of questions yet to be answered…… great work !!!!!

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  37. Shani De Jesus

    This is a fascinating story that looks at the life of Eddie Vitch and how he survived the Second World War. Not your typical holocaust war story but one that takes you on a journey all around the world and touches on family issues such as belonging, separation, and survival. For me personally, it has been emotional, but a wonderful journey, getting to know my Father. My father was 61 when I was born and I was 22 when he passed so to me this movie has helped me reconnect with my heritage and understand my own sense of belonging. Thank you, Sigal and Marc, for creating a truly heart-warming, intriguing documentary that leaves you thinking about life and the choices people make long after the credits stop rolling!
    Shani, daughter of Eddie Vitch

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  38. Angela M.

    Thank you for the invite to Vitch
    What an insight into your fathers and family life, you all should be very proud. It pulled at the heart strings, having a peek into what life was like back then and the struggles faced. Could watch it again and again.

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  39. Amanda

    The film Vitch is an eye opening documentary that had me engaged and intrigued from start to end. I loved seeing Vitch’s caricatures, show programs and footage from performances. His story of survival is truly remarkable and this film portrays it magically.

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  40. Selena Sermeno Ph.D

    I love how you showed his artistic essence and the pain in his offspring. I love how the movie was not strident or sensationalized when it could’ve easily been. What a beautiful job.

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  41. Sandra Ker

    How thrilled I am to be invited to this movie of one man’s ability to rise above the madness of the Nazi Era in Germany. Lisa had brought me his caricatures in 2011 that hinted at a fantastic “Who Do You Think You Are?” journey…and here it is!

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  42. Frayda

    Eddie Vitch’s life brings to mind the saying that “truth can be stranger than fiction.” Those who did not live through this time of terror and insurmountable odds can not know what they would have done to stay alive. Vitch used his talents to hide in plain sight. He was an extraordinary man who lived through extraordinary times.

    I feel fortunate to have been able to connect Lisa with her family in Israel in 2007.

    Frayda Zelman
    Skierniewice researcher

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  43. John Frank

    An intense slice of Holocaust history seen through two generations of loving family on a quest for the truth behind Vitch’s personal and professional life. Vitch was a Jewish artist and entertainer in Nazi occupied Europe whose will to live and perform succeeded in ways no one could have predicted. Vitch’s descendants raise moral questions 75 years later about how he was able to work and survive during the war while many in his family and community were decimated. A powerful and memorable film by Marc and SIgal production partners.

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  44. Nathaniel Frank

    I loved seeing the film! It was personal, moving, provocative, thoughtful and very informative. It raises questions about a period and set of themes that everyone should learn more about and always be contemplating so as not to let the worst of history repeat itself.

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  45. Andrea Wenet

    Vitch was wildly thought provoking. Usually, I land with clarity and comfort, an ability to see the main character as vilian or hero. Vitch is more complex. The film does an exceptional job subtly conveying the breadth of Vitch’s conflicting desires (from stardom to self preservation). On the surface, he’s difficult to embrace, beneath the surface he remains a mystery throughout the film. What drives this man? The movie wins the day by NOT wrapping his motives into a tidy package. The movie is exceptional, the character is perplexing.

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  46. BeAnne Hull

    An amazing, deeply moving and thought-provoking documentary. What a wonderful job you did with so much material in a relatively short production schedule. It is another angle on the tragedy of the Holocaust, beautiful in manifesting the universal theme of what happens when a family comes together and at it’s heart, the fascinating story of a very gifted artist. I was excited to hear Sigal say that another version of this story should be told using an actor to play the role of Vitch.

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  47. Liliana Lengua

    It is a complex, profound and moving story about… so much… family, fate, survival, identity, living through unthinkable times. I appreciated that it raised deep questions that I heard many people struggling with afterwards, and it prompted a conversation among my family about relating to Vitch and his choices the whole drive home.

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  48. Pwint Htun

    It was such beautifully made film that made me ponder about incredibly beautiful and complex human nature and psyche of survivors. I couldn’t stop thinking about the film the entire evening!

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  49. Margaret Chazan

    “I’m still thinking about the film and the intriguing way you told the story – I particularly liked the way you portrayed the ambiguity, yet with great sympathy for your very likable subject. Vitch was certainly the consummate artist. His art was both his passion and his way to survive. The story is amongst other things a testament to the power of art.”

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  50. Dana Raphaely

    Not only was the story incredible, it really highlighted the complexity of human and Jewish existence and survival in time of war and persecution.

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  51. Tomo Kuman-Lesher

    It goes beyond a Jewish theme story. It draws attentions to true humanity and questions our compassion.

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  52. Rosanne Lapan

    Dear Yaffa, thank you for screening this amazing movie for us all to see. I am still absorbing and reflecting upon all the varied and multi-dimensional emotions I felt: an artist/performer’s drive, family ties, above all survival. Your mom is an adorable and authentic star! (I wish I could meet her.) What a mitzvah it is for you and Paul to make this movie, for your own family, for all of us to see and hold in our thoughts and hearts. The movie was crafted excellently. I especially appreciate when I see a movie and it captures my thoughts well after it’s over. I am still pondering… Love, Rosanne

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  53. Block

    Vitch is a breathtaking surprise. A beauitful and complex film that operates on many levels. In the best Jewish tradition is doesn’t offer up a simple story or easy answers. It is deeply researched and beautifully written and filmed. Both the story of Vitch and all of the living charachters draw you in and continue to challange ones assumptions. A stunning and provocative must-see documentary.

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  54. Blair Carleton

    Almost bizarrely relevant for the times we find ourselves in, this inspirational movie about seeking family and meaning is testimony to why we can never, ever judge another being.

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  55. Tanya Davis

    Wow Lisa, the movie is great!

    I love all of the old footage and interviews. You do a lovely job of the narration. It is a beautiful story about the strength of family, artistic life and survival!

    I wish you every success with the film

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  56. Sharon Holt

    Oh, where to start! This is an amazing project – rich and layered and provocative on many levels. It’s the kind of film that one continues to think about the next day and want to revisit again. I wonder if Eddie Vitch’s lack of contact with his eldest daughter was part of his coping mechanism with such significant loss? He was a man without a country migrating to one location to another only to be deported from last. How could he possibly remain emotionally invested in each home, woman and child – without losing himself to debilitating grief? It was all he knew; it was one of the “tools” he learned to keep living life in the face of unspeakable and insurmountable obstacles. I can’t imagine having to walk away from my family . . . I just don’t think that there are ready or knowable answers in grasping his experience when it is not our own.

    Thank you for sharing it with us. Important for understanding the past and the present. Congratulations!
    Sharon

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