The Schmooze

Amid Polish Anti-Semitism, a Magical Australia of the Mind

Courtesy of Transfax Film Production

Crossposted from Midnight East

The upper floor of an apartment building hides a secret world tied to a rope, waiting to be animated by the voice and imagination of a boy, Tadek (Jakub Wróblewski). Yet soon after he pulls that world — a model of Australia — out of its niche, a whistle calls him to join his older brother Andrzej (Lukasz Sikora) and the neighborhood gang to beat up Jews. Although the animals in Tadek’s Australia are also busy beating up on one another, there is a childlike innocence to the opening scene, soon shattered by the brutal violence that follows.

“My Australia” by director Ami Drozd, which premiered July 12 at the Jerusalem International Film Festival where it won the Van Leer Group Foundation Audience Choice Award, is a powerful and immensely appealing film that not only engages with difficult topics — Polish anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and Jews who hid their origins in postwar Poland — but also gives voice to characters not usually heard in Israeli cultural discourse.

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Amid Polish Anti-Semitism, a Magical Australia of the Mind

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