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Past Life

Avi Nesher
Hahataim
Israel 2016 / 109’
Mr. Gaga People That Are Not Me

The setting is the Federal Republic of Germany in the late 1970s. Following a concert by an Israeli choir, a mysterious middle-aged woman tries to make contact with one of the soloists. The issue concerns the past: the young girl's father during World War II. When the girl returns home, she and her sister decide to unravel the mystery of their parents' past, particularly that of their stern father, Baruch. When a German composer of Polish origin named Thomas Zieliński arrives in Israel, he holds the key to solving this riddle from years past. The starting point for the plot of Past Life is the biography of Baruch Milch, a prewar Jewish doctor who survived by hiding in an area that is now Ukraine. Milch's story was brought to light thanks to the discovery of his diary at the Jewish Historical Institute. Nesher's film is an attempt to explain how Milch's family tried to return to the past and work out the Holocaust tragedy. Baruch Milch died in 1989.A Polish translation of his memoirs, Testament, was published in 2001.

Joanna Ostrowska

Avi Nesher

Avi Nesher was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, in 1953. He studied at the Ramaz School in New York before moving on to Columbia University. He made his full-length feature debut in 1978 with The Troupe. He made two more feature films before leaving for the United States: Dizengoff 99 (1979) and Rage and Glory (1985). In Hollywood, he worked as a director and screenwriter, producing a number of films up until 2004. Upon his return to Israel, he made, among others, Turn Left at the End of the World (2004), which won an Israeli Academy of Film award.

Selected filmography

1979 Dizengoff 99

1993 Po drugiej stronie słońca / Doppelganger

2006 Ha-Sodot / The Secrets

2012 Plaot / The Wonders

2016 Poprzednie życie / Hachataim / Past Life

Cast & Crew

director Avi Nesher
screenplay Avi Nesher (inspired by Can Heaven Be Void, Baruch Milch)
cinematography Michel Abramowicz
editing Isaac Sehayek
cast Nelly Tagar, Joy Rieger, Evgenia Dodina, Doron Tavori
producer David M. Milch, David Silber, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, Avi Nesher, Ruth Cats. Co-producers: Ella Milch-Sheriff, Elad Naggar
production Metro Communications
sales BLEIBERG ENTERTAINMENT
language Hebrew, English, German, Polish
colouration colour