Tovarisch: I Am Not Dead
Mon 1 October 8:45pm
|Writer:||Stuart Urban||Original Format:||Digibeta, HD, 35mm|
|Dir. of Photography:||Stuart Urban, Shai Peleg, Ben Nicolosi Endo||Print Source:||Cyclops Vision|
Garri Urban, one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary survivors, who endured both the extremes of Nazism and Communism.
Tovarish: I Am not Dead is a fascinating biography on the life of Garri Urban (directed by his son Stuart), a man who had the wits, guts and luck to survive the extremes of Nazism and Communism. Garri’s event-full and tormented past is primarily reconstructed through interviews whilst the documentary mainly concentrates on the present (1992) as we follow Garri on his return to Eastern Europe. This documentary becomes a cinematic update to Garri’s 1980’s autobiography.
Throughout the film we observe Garri’s struggle to obtain his KGB file, the emotional return to his family home and the reunion with the fiancée he has not seen since 1943, when he was arrested.
Observing Garri re-living his past through the present is a refreshing departure from the typical serial interview format, bringing the reality and ultimately the emotion closer to the audience. In addition the on-screen father-son (director-subject) relationship, particularly Stuart’s attempts to understand his father as a product of his past, is invitingly personal. Finally, it is the theme of survival, rather than defeat, under oppression which makes this documentary inspiring, hopeful and therefore vital as a social lesson. This is a compelling documentary on many levels and is indicative of the future of documentary-making.