Synopsis:

This is the story of a friendship between two very short women. Perla, an actress, is the last living member of a Jewish family of dwarfs that survived Dr. Mengele’s experiments in Auschwitz. Hannelore, a Christian, was born in postwar Germany.

Hannelore sets out on a quest, which could well fulfill one of Perla’s greatest dreams. She is searching for a lost Nazi film of Perla’s family, standing naked on stage, before a group of high-ranking SS officers. Dr. Mengele stands next to them, explaining their unusual physiognomy to the bemused onlookers. As she hunts for the film in German and Polish archives, Hannelore corresponds with Perla to report on her progress. These letters provide a poignant description of all the many people she meets, who can’t help staring because of her height. “So many people think that life is meaningless if you have a disability—that it would probably be better if I wasn’t even alive.” The film raises issues of birth and death, anger and forgiveness, and the basic right of the different to life.

Technical:

56 minutes, Israel 1999, Hebrew/English/German

Director: Shahar Rozen

Cinematographer: Nurith Aviv and Shahar Rozen

Screenwriter: Shahar Rozen

Editor: Tali Halter-Shenkar

Producers: Edna and Elinor Kowarsky, Eden Productions

  • Best Script Award, Haifa Film Festival, Israel 1999
  • ‘Masua’ Award for Best Documentary Dealing with the Holocaust, Israel 1999
  • Magnolia Award for Most Innovative Film Dealing With Human Rights, Shanghai Film Festival, China 2000
  • First Prize for Best Documentary, Tursk Film Festival, Turkey 2000
  • Official Selection, Margaret Mid Festival, New York 2000
  • Special Mention, Superfest Berkley California, USA 2000
  • Channel 2 (Keshet Broadcasting), Israel
  • NDR, Germany
  • WTN, Canada
  • SBS, Australia
  • DR TV, Denmark
  • Lifestyle Television, Canada
  • RTV, Slovenia
  • TVP, Poland

An intelligent, original film that is both restrained and intriguing. The film is very daring in its choice of subject matter and the original cinematic methods it uses, which break away from all the standard techniques and familiar clichés that appear in films of this genre.” (‘Masua’ Award jury, Israel 1999)

Shahar Rozen Born in 1967, Israel. Graduated the ‘Sam Spiegel Film and Television School – Jerusalem’ with honor. “Best Director 1996” in the ‘Israeli Short Film Competition’ for the Diploma film “Sammy Molcho – Private Eye” was screened on television in Israel and Italy. Directed the following documentaries/; “Master Class”, “Home Movie” and “Liebe Perla”.