THE ART OF LIVING

Screening of “The Art of Living” and meeting Amir Har-Gil.

The film won the Public Favorite Award at the Real to Reel Festival in the US and was nominated for the Ofir Prize in the Best Documentary category.

A moving and fascinating film that describes the love story between Shraga Har-Gil, an Israeli who escaped the Nazis and his family perished in Auschwitz and Ulla Gassner, daughter and granddaughter of a Nazi family, owners of the factory that produced the gas containers for Auschwitz. After having escaped the Nazis Shraga enlisted into the “Hagana” and was badly wounded in the battle for liberating Yehiam. Shraga also engages in reckoning with the country he shed his blood for.

Suitable for discussion about different identities (Israeli, German, Jewish), about the presence of the past in our lives, about prejudices.

English translation is possible.

Length: 53 mins.

The Art of Living, Public Favorite Award, Real to Reel Festival, US, 2006

A moving love story between Shraga (72) and Ulla (55) who met five years before, a love story that transcends prejudice, stigma and nationalism. Shraga is a German Jew who fled the Nazis and Ulla is an Aryan Christian, daughter of a Nazi.

It turns out that the families “met” in the past: Shraga’s grandfather and grandmother suffocated from the gas flowing out of the containers manufactured by Ulla’s father and grandfather who were members of the Nazi Party and manufactured the gas containers for Auschwitz.

After having fled the Nazis Shraga joined the “Hagana” and was badly wounded (100%) in the battle over Yehiam during the War of Independence (1948). He also reckons with the country he shed his blood for; Shraga is ill, close to physical blindness.

After having been wounded, he chose life; in between hospital visits he spends every minute loving and living. The art of living.

Shraga is my father.

The film presents the point of view of the son who is the films’ director: loving, jealous, critical. Through the love story of Ulla and Shraga, love, separation, dilemmas about the presence of the past in our lives, a bout prejudices, about Jewish, German, Israeli identity arise.

Above all this is a moving love story.

 

Directors: Prof. Amir Har-Gil, Ruti Braverman

Production: Amir Har-Gil

Editor: Michal Ranon

Photography: Yoav Kosh, Amir Har-Gil, Ran Aviad

Length: 53 mins. Israel 2004

 

 

Audience Choice Award, Real to Reel Festival, North Carolina, USA, 2006.

“I was very touched by your father’s story; in some ways it resonates my own biography… during periods I spent in Germany I too met (albeit not so intimately) people like Ulla (I have a relative by the same name, short for Ursula); I too was nicknamed “yekke” and at first had difficulties in adjusting to “sabra” society. It seems that we both mastered quite well the Hebrew language although it was not our mother tongue. The story of the immigration from Germany in the thirties still awaits a literary masterpiece or film and I do not mean historical research.  Be that as it may, your film contributed an interesting and moving personal angle; it is really beautiful and very moving. (Prof. Raphael Nir, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University and Netanya Academic College)

“I watched your film “The Art of Living” once and then again and must admit that your work fascinated and moved me deeply. I would call the film “The Song of Songs of Old Age”. Your work shows an exceptional sensitivity and an ability to express a whole gamut of delicate tones and nuances which imbue the film and give it a unique character” (Nissan Nativ, Acting Studio)

“I wish to thank you for the fascinating meeting with you and your film “The Art of Living”. The 11th grade students were fascinated by the film and were attentive and very interested in the discussion that followed the screening. It seems that your didactic capabilities match those of your filmmaking. Your excellent film about your Father Shraga Har-Gil provided to the children a mirror of the period, its’ values and the changes that occurred over the years. One of the many qualities of the film is the dignified, accepting and loving relationship between father and son which comes across the screen into one’s heart.” (Erica Ben Mordecai, Coordinator, Communications Department, Berl Katznelson High School, Kfar Saba)

“I wish to thank you in my own and on behalf of ERAN, Netanya  (Emotional First Aid by Telephone and Internet) volunteers for your generosity in showing us your moving film “The Art of Living” and the discussion afterwards. Persons like you who are aware of the importance of ERAN, warm our heart and give us strength to go on with our task.” (Tsafi Slibowitz, Station Director)

“The meeting with you and watching your film “The Art of Living” in the framework of the “Excellence Forum” of the School of Communications at Sapir College aroused great interest among the students. Thank you for accepting our invitation; I hope the cooperation between our schools will continue.” (Dr. Einat Lachover, Sapir School of Communication)

THE ART OF LIVING