28 July 2009 | editfilmr
A family's Secret - un-folds, un-winds and touches . . .
An endearing and very engaging fictional family's ties and hidden history , linked to an actual historic event [ the Kasztner train rescue of beleaguered Hungarian Jews in 1943 ] .
The attendees and myself viewing this very dramatic movie , at The Stony Brook Film Festival this weekend , could not help but be drawn into the interwoven plot lines of a family's secret , and it's impact on individual family members. What unfolds before you is a story of past choices that not only impact and shape those involved in a life and death struggle to survive , but the psyches and values each fall back on as they navigate their own way through life .
Generations from family patriarch , Emil Pikler [ expertly played by actor Eli Wallach ] , his sons Warren and Robert , and grandson Issac - "Zak" interplay , as years of emotional knots and protective walls start to unwind and come down . The inherited genes are subtly displayed , linking family traits ( i.e. love of the "game" - baseball , stubbornness , etc. ) . Yet , it's the impact of seeing a traumatic event take place that sets the stage for the knots and walls to be formed , and hence , individual actions and reactions on one's own life path [ navigating through the cosmos ] .
Eli Wallach is indeed an American theatrical and dramatic institution . (93 years young and still giving us engaging performances. Mazel tov ! ) . Lawrence Pressman gives a fantastically warm performance as the beleaguered and scarred son , Warren . Look for Daniel Sauli , portraying the grandson Zak , ably backed up by his girl friend Delphina ( Annie Parisse ) , who slice us through the plot lines and family history . Kudos as well to Ronald Guttman , as the counter-point brother Robert , who brings shaded comic release and vivid stark reality to the varying situations .
This presentation could apply to a multitude of families whose members have survived WWII ( or other horrific family altering conflicts ) . It's the untold stories ( and secrets ) that may yet haunt and contort warm and strong family ties , causing sad separations . Perhaps , some secrets and histories are better kept hidden . Sadly , many are dying off with their holders , as generations pass away.
Gauging the audience's reaction , this entry should capture at a top prize at the festival , and do well as it's released to the public . Director and writer Jeremy Davidson has constructed a moving and emotional vehicle to be enjoyed with your own families (regardless of nationalities, religions, creeds , etc . ) . Meanwhile , here's to living ( on ) , and to Life ! L' Chaim !