Past Life

Two Israeli sisters, the daughters of Holocaust survivors, unravel the shocking truth about their father’s murky wartime experiences in this hybrid detective thriller and heart-tugging drama. Set in historic 1977, the film centers on combative liberal journalist, Nana, and her younger sister, Sephi, a soprano and aspiring composer. After a choral performance in West Berlin, Sephi is traumatized by a startling encounter with an elderly Polish woman who angrily accuses her father of murder. As guilty secrets and troubling revelations are dredged up, Past Life boldly charts dangerous emotional territory, still very much part of the Israeli collective subconscious. Award-winning writer-director Avi Nesher, himself the son of Holocaust survivors, based his screenplay on actual events chronicled in Can Heaven Be Void?, the wartime diaries of Dr. Baruch Milch. The film’s polished period details, rich-hued cinematography and handsome production design are further served by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

  • Nelly Tagar (Zero Motivation), Joy Rieger (Mika’s Homecoming), Evgenia Dodina (One Week and a Day, A Touch Away), Rafael Stachowiak and Donon Tavory (Lemon Tree)
  • Avi Nesher
  • Avi Nesher
  • 109 minutes
  • In Hebrew, German, English and Polish with English subtitles.

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About Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema

Welcome to the largest Big Tent community showcase of Israeli features, docs and TV series--made in Israel and/or by Israelis in the past 12 months--in the Midwest! You’ll take a deep dive beyond the headlines. See Chicago Premieres of some of the most talented and internationally award-winning directors, actors and other artists working today as they share their multicultural perspectives. And have unprecedented opportunities to dialog, laugh, cry, party and otherwise interact in person with cinephiles of all backgrounds. We look forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time, soon.

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