West Coast Premiere
Directed and written by Arnon Goldfinger
Edited by Tali Halter Shenkar. Cinematography by Phillipe Bellaiche and Talia Galon.
Israel, 2011. In Hebrew with English subtitles. 97mins.
Sponsored by Michael Ehrenzweig
Winner of the Israeli award for Best Documentary, Arnon Goldfinger’s The Flat is that rare commodity: a documentary film as riveting as a suspense thriller. After the death of his 95-year-old grandmother, the filmmaker begins recording the mammoth task of clearing out her Tel Aviv apartment overflowing with a lifetime of accumulated possessions. Sifting through the dusty books and 40-year-old thank you notes, Goldfinger comes upon an odd find: faded copies of Der Angriff, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ vociferously anti-Semitic newspaper. Flipping through the pages, Goldfinger reads of an unlikely prewar trip by a high-ranking German official, Leopold von Mildenstein, to Palestine when the Nazis were still exploring the possibility of deporting the Jews instead of annihilating them. What surprises Goldfinger most of all are the names of the couple who accompanied the man who was Adolf Eichmann’s predecessor in the SS: his grandfather Kurt Tuchler and recently deceased grandmother, Gerda. As Goldfinger makes a series of inquiring calls and trips overseas (always politely bearing flowers), he makes an astonishing discovery about the friendship between the powerful Nazi and his grandparents, who never seemed entirely willing to shake off their past. The Flat is a complex, penetrating look at a different kind of Holocaust denial altogether.