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Zyklon Portrait

Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Wandering Tulip Productions
Directed by Elida Shogt
VHS, color, 13 min.
High School - Adult
Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Reviewed by Debra Mandel, Head, Media Center, Northeastern University Libraies, Boston, MA

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   

In Zyklon Portrait, Canadian filmmaker Elida Shogt weaves together, in a powerful poetic fashion, family snapshots and film, archival and instructional footage, underwater photography, and abstract imagery to express the role memory plays in her family’s Holocaust experience. Rather than showing footage of herself and her Dutch-born mother having a discussion about this horrific event, Ms. Shogt juxtaposes conversations with her mother with a man's cold narration about Zyklon B’s properties and the Jews’ extermination in the gas chambers.

Ms. Shogt's grandparents were gassed in Auschwitz, and in this mesmerizing 13 minutes, Ms. Shogt presents a moving tribute to her family, while struggling with the haunting past. It is a stunning record of mourning, two generations after the Holocaust.

Zyklon Portrait is highly recommended to stimulate discussion about the Holocaust and the role personal expression plays in documenting tragic human events. Ms. Shogt is a talented documentarian with well developed technical and editing skills. Awards: Best Shorts and Best Editing, Canadian International Film Festival in Documentary; Best Debut prize, Documentary Category, New York Exposition of Short Film & Video.