O'Leary's film is a transposition of a stage play based on a book written by Holocaust survivor Isabella Leitner. As a teenager, Leitner was taken from the Hungarian Jewish ghetto of Kisvarda to Auschwitz, thence to Birnbaumel. On the death march to Bergen-Belsen, she escaped with two of her sisters. The horrors and atrocities she witnessed on that darkest of journeys - including the deaths of her mother and two young sisters - are related here in the form of a long monologue by Reidy. Her performance is hard to fault, not least because of its restraint. The monologue is interspersed with newsreel footage, but no shots of horror. If the film's power derives essentially from the word, it is a compliment to the unobtrusive sensitivity of O'Leary's direction - the film is staged on simple sets, carefully lit by Walter Lassally, and incorporates a very subtle use of music (by Carl Davis) and sound - that nothing gets in the way of our hearing it.
You may also like