• Film
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Tovarisch, I Am Not Dead

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

Director Stuart Urban’s documentary on his ‘totally extraordinary’ Polish-Jewish-born doctor father Garri is, in equal parts, fascinating and tantalising. Comprised of home-movie footage, archive stills and film material, plus interviews filmed by the director mainly in the early 1990s, it takes its title from his father’s own 1980 book, describing Garri’s triple escapes, firstly from the Nazi occupation of his birth-town of Ivano-Frankovsk and later from his Soviet captors.

It paints a compelling portrait. Garri (who died in 2004) was clearly a voluble, emotional and pugnacious man. It’s moving to see him revisit, after 50 years, his old flame, his home in south-west Poland/Ukraine – an area where the pre-war Jewish population of 100,000 was massacred by a combination of the German SS and Ukrainian Nazi collaborators – or former KGB headquarters in Moscow and Uzbekistan in search of his file.

But, frustratingly, Urban’s inability to unearth any new material on, or precise facts about, his father’s history – was he possibly an Allied spy? – leaves a somewhat unresolved and unsatisfactory ‘aura of mystery’ over the entire film.

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 2 May 2008
  • Duration:83 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Stuart Urban
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