Composed of interviews and original footage shot by its primary subject, "Remembrances" is a worthy but pretentious doc about an extraordinary man, Lithuanian-born filmmaker and freedom fighter Luis Frank, and the various lives he touched.

Composed of interviews and original footage shot by its primary subject, “Remembrances” is a worthy but pretentious doc about an extraordinary man, Lithuanian-born filmmaker and freedom fighter Luis Frank, and the various lives he touched. Potential Oscar nomination bait for the documentary feature category given its Holocaust theme, pic could neatly fit a slot for Jewish fests and play well on hot-on-history cable stations.

A fascinating character, the globetrotting Frank (1899-2003) was at various points in his life a spy, a filmmaker, a soldier for the Leftist forces during the Spanish Civil War, and a savior of Jewish children from the Nazis, as well as a husband and father who finally settled in Mexico. Film incorporates Frank’s footage of the Hispanic conflict and other material. All is glued together with interviews from his peers and descendents, plus mannered shots recreating narrated scenes or just providing atmosphere, some of which feature an enigmatic black frame propped on the foreground for bonus artiness. Much musing on the nature of memory goes on, but a straighter, less compacted and elliptical telling would have made for a more engaging pic. Good tech credits overall.

Remembrances

Mexico

Production

A Conaculta/IMCINE/CCC/Echasa production, in association with the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Jose Alfona Espinoza. (International sales: Mexican Film Institute IMCINE, Mexico City.) Produced by Angeles Castro, Hugo Rodriguez, Gustavo Montiel. Directed, written by Marcela Arteaga.

Crew

Camera (color), Celina Cardenas; editors, Sigfrido Barjau, Roberto Bolado, Marcela Arteaga; music, Gustavo Arteaga Companias; art director, Andre Krassoievitch. Reviewed on videocassette at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), June 11, 2003. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Luis Frank, Miriam Frank, Jose Frank, Max Kerlow, Genoveva Arteaga, Roberto de Hacha.
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