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. Foreign buyers searching for classy arthouse product should give this a look.

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.

Nina's Journey

Sweden

Production

A Svensk Filmindustri release of an East of West Film production, in association with Storch & Storch, Svensk Filmindustri, with particpation of Vilm Prod. (International sales: NonStop Sales, Stockholm.) Produced by Kaska Krosny. Co-producer, Violetta Furmaniuk-Zaorska. Directed, written by Lena Einhorn, based on her book.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Dan Myhrman; editor, Irene Hatz; music, Sasza Maksimov, Pawel Derentowicz; art director, Katarzyna Boczek; costume designer, Agnieszka Kaczynska; sound (DTS stereo), Michal Zarnecki. Reviewed at Falken theater, Jakobsberg, Sweden, Jan. 2, 2006. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Nina Einhorn, Agnieszka Grochowska, Maria Chwalibog, Andrzej Brzeski, Pawel Iwanicki, Iwona Sitkowska, Malgorzata Zajaczkowska, Artur Chamski, Dominika Bednarczyk, Adam Malecki, Marek Wojciechowski, Maria Kaniewska, Halina Rasiakowna, Dorota Liliental, Adam Bauman. (Polish, Swedish, German dialogue)

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