(Ray, Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia/Germany 2016, 130 min., DCP, Yiddish, Russian, French, German w/subtitles)
Rochester Premiere | Primal Screen. Europe, World War II. A family man with no strong political convictions is a passive accomplice to the cruelties of the Gestapo against the non-Aryans. In the same town where he lives, Olga, an aristocratic Russian émigré, has joined the French Resistance. Arrested by the Nazis for hiding two Jewish boys, the young and beautiful woman is sent to a concentration camp, where she sees death in the face, eventually finding an unexpected chance of escaping to Switzerland. Her harrowing story, however, isn’t conveyed through the rhetoric on the Holocaust tragedy of mainstream Hollywood cinema.
Filmed with 35mm and 16mm cameras in a sumptuous black and white reminiscent of classical filmmaking, this parable of human resilience and moral dilemmas is told from multiple viewpoints: the heroine, the German officer who becomes her lover, and a French collaborationist of the Vichy regime. Their stories, reflections, and emotions are conveyed to a mysterious interviewer, punctuating the action with brief but poignant moments of truth. It’s a bold statement from veteran director Konchalovsky (The Inner Circle, Runaway Train), who divided the critics at the Venice Film Festival with his unusual approach to storytelling about the unspeakable.
Special introduction by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department.