Discovering older documentaries on-line is one of the joys of the information super highway to use an old-school term. Netflix streaming has allowed these older titles to be introduced to a whole new audience. You can log onto a movie you might not otherwise try and if you don’t like it stop the stream and begin again, it’s incredible.
“We Were so Beloved” is from 1985 and although it is powerful in emotion and message it’s almost worth watching just to see the 80s hairstyles and fashions.
Filmmaker Manfred Kirchheimer, who moved from Germany to New York in 1936, interviews friends and family who moved to New York City’s middle class Washington Heights in the 1930s, to establish the Jewish Community he grew up in.
The film begins slowly and has been criticized it for its length, but his interviews with these survivors of the Holocaust are quite powerful and pull together lesser known attitudes by some emigrants. The attitudes of the elders as compared with their then 50-something sons is also remarkable to absorb. The film focuses on the contradictions that exist in their “whole new lives” in America and some of the elder’s attitudes obviously shock their middle-aged offspring. One son sits on the couch unable to keep quiet, challenging his mother who he feels is being too forgiving and too upbeat. There has been much written about what it is to grow up the offspring of Holocaust survivors and you can see the emotion in the expressions of the three sons who are included in this film.
Just the interview with Elsa Marcus, the lady in purple/pinkish velour with the pearls, with her passionate opinions, is worth your time to watch this low budget film. She has some powerful things to say about our animal nature that will stick with you long after you have completed viewing the film.