Review: ‘Numbered’

'Numbered'

Lasting scars of the Holocaust become totems of resilience and remembrance in "Numbered," a moving compilation of testimonies from Auschwitz survivors whose tattoos serve as perpetual reminders of their imprisonment in the world's most notorious death camp.

Lasting scars of the Holocaust become totems of resilience and remembrance in “Numbered,” a moving compilation of testimonies from Auschwitz survivors whose tattoos serve as perpetual reminders of their imprisonment in the world’s most notorious death camp. As their subjects share their experiences and reflect on the strange mixture of shame and dignity each branded number confers, directors Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai craft a straightforward but inescapably emotional item that, at its roughly one-hour length, is ideally suited to broadcast play.

Each individual is identified onscreen by name as well as by the blue-inked, multiple-digit tattoo they were assigned at Auschwitz. More than one subject describes the physical pain of being branded like cattle, even as the act offered tentative hope of survival; in the most fascinating development, some of their descendants have opted to get the same tattoo as a tribute and a reminder to never forget. Tone of the piece is more sentimental than hard-hitting, and at times not without a certain present-day humor. Black-and-white photos of the interviewees add a classy touch to an adequate tech package; score is a tad overused.

Numbered

Israel

Production

A Know Prods. presentation. (International sales: Know Prods., Tel Aviv.) Produced by Hilla Medalia, Neta Zwebner-Zaibert. Directed by Dana Doron, Uriel Sinai.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, HD), Sinai; editor, Tor Ben Mayor; music, Issar Shulman. Reviewed at Jerusalem Film Festival (competing), July 8, 2012. Running time: 55 MIN.

With

Gita Kalderon, Zoka Levy, Daniel Chanoch, Hanna Tessler, Sarah Tessler, Vera Rosenzweig, Ruth Bondy, Abrame Naeson, Hanna Rabinowitz, Maurice Finsi. (Hebrew dialogue)

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