A low-key but powerful drama about a Jewish woman’s odyssey from the WWII Warsaw ghetto to a life in Sweden, “Nina’s Journey” is a good example of what can be achieved when a tight budget is combined with sharp filmmaking and a story that aches to be told. Locally, pic received positive reviews on its December release and copped best film and screenplay honors at the Golden Bugs, local film awards. Foreign buyers searching for classy arthouse product should give this a look.
Film is based on the real-life story of writer-director Lena Einhorn’s mother, Nina Rajmic, who lived in Warsaw. When war broke out and the Nazis invaded, the family was moved to an apartment in the ghetto and persecuted. Though their parents died, Nina and her brother Rudolf survived the war.
Nina met young student Jerzy Einhorn and moved with him to Sweden, where they both became well-known physicians. Jerzy was one of Sweden’s most respected cancer doctors, though ironically both he and Nina died of cancer early this century.
Before Nina died, helmer Lena interviewed her mother on camera. This gripping interview, with the old woman quietly talking in Swedish about the horrors of wartime Poland, threads through the movie as a voiceover to the action, and supplemented with comments from Lena. B&W stills and newsreel footage are also used.
Cast of well-known Polish actors is headed by Agnieszka Grochowska who, as Nina, is in almost every scene. Her open, vulnerable face makes the horrors of war come alive.
Despite being shot on DV and a low budget, pic manages never to look it. There are several convincingly staged mass scenes, and Einhorn takes full advantage of being able to shoot on location.
Pic recently won bet film and best screenplay in Sweden’s local film awards, the Golden Bugs.