Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Last Survivor- She said

Every once in a while, a film will come along that will make you question humanity and your role in it. “The Last Survivor” is a powerful documentary about the human spirit persevering above all obstacles. The film follow four survivors of four different genocides: Hedi from the Holocaust, Justin from The Congo, Jacqueline from Rwanda, and Adam from Darfur. Each story is different, yet the one aspect they share is that they each survived.

The documentary follows these individuals as they go about their lives after their tragedies. All four survivors work and speak about their experiences in some form. Jacqueline has spoken in front of the U.N., while Adam is a leader of Darfur refugees in Israel. Justin got the opportunity to move to America, and Hedi shares her story with performer wanting the story to be told. All four are constantly dealing with the question, “Why me? Why was I chosen to survive?” The burden they have as survivors is almost unbearable. Jacqueline shares about many times she wished she had died in the genocide because the burden of surviving is almost impossible.

This could have easily been ainstead filmmakers, Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleinman, make this a film of hope. documentary of anger and despair and hatred, but The tenacity and spirit of these individuals is unbelievable. They have been through these unspeakable horrors, yet they find the will to move on. And instead of spewing hatred and violence towards their adversaries, they preach hope and understanding and change. They work for peace, and a world where we never have to hear about genocide again. These individuals understand the basic principle that a lot of people miss- we’re all human, therefore, we’re all connected. It doesn’t matter what you are or who you are, every life is valuable.

One of the directors, Pertnoy, was there for a Q&A, and he was asked a question on the meaning of the title. He said that was his goal; his goal and hope is that, as humans, we can say there is a “last survivor” because that means genocides will have come to an end in this world.

I cannot say enough about this film. It is beautifully shot and edited. It never lags or is weighted down by details. You care about these survivors and their stories, and you leave with the most important lesson of all…the lesson of hope and change. It’s my hope that we all can have the spirit and love that Hedi, Justin, Jaqueline, and Adam share.

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