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A large still-life painting hung on the wall above Lilka Elbaum’s childhood bed in Lodz, Poland. It was the first thing she saw when she woke up, and the last thing she saw before she fell aslep.

This painting hung on this very spot perhaps since the building was first inhabited in the late 1890s. Until the war these were Jewish families, then during the war, a German family, and then after the war, Lilka’s Jewish family. Hence, the painting ultimately became a silent witness to the tragic history of Lodz’s Jews. The painting was removed from the apartment in October 1968, when Lilka’s family, along with the majority of Polish Jews, were expelled from Poland.

In the film “Still Life in Lodz”, the metaphor of the painting is used to tell the story of Lilka Elbaum, now living in Boston, who returns to Lodz in search of objects from her memory. In her journey Lilka is accompanied by Paul Celler, a New Yorker and Roni Ben Ari, an Israeli with shared histories, which bind them to Lodz and the quest to find traces of family memories.

Director Slawomir Grünberg, an outstanding documentary filmmaker and prestigious Emmy-award winner, tells the story of the once vibrant Jewish community in Lodz, its almost total destruction during the Shoah, its post-war revival, expulsion from Poland in 1968, and finally, its present-day Jewish community. Using an innovative format, this historical essay combines unique archival materials, authentic drawings from the Ghetto, elements of the modern language of creative animation and special effects with the modern documentary scenes.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    75 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Rating
  • Director
    Slawomir Grünberg
  • Screenwriter
    Lilka Elbaum, Slawomir Grünberg
  • Producer
    Barbara Grünberg, Logtv Films Polska
  • Editor
    Cezary Kowalczuk
  • Composer
    Wojciech Lemański