MARKO FEINGOLD – A JEWISH LIFE

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by Christian Krönes, Florian Weigensamer, Roland Schrotthofer and Christian Kermer

grade: 7

In Marko Feingold – A Jewish Life past and present meet, ‘collide’, and are much more similar than they might initially seem. Black and white gives the documentary universal connotations, the absence of music (except for the short video inserts) ensures that the viewer focuses exclusively on the face of the protagonist.

Yesterday like today

Although Marko Feingold lived until he was one hundred and six years old, he died many, many times. And about his difficult life he speaks composedly and calmly, although still suffering, in front of the camera. His words are incredibly alive and pulsating, and in respectful silence they were listened to by the filmmakers Christian Krönes, Florian Weigensamer, Roland Schrotthofer and Christian Kermer, who, with their documentary Marko Feingold – A Jewish Life have provided us with a valuable historical document and a human and particularly touching portrait of someone who lived through first-hand one of the most dramatic periods of the last century.

Marko Feingold worked for years as an entrepreneur. Throughout his long life, he has put a lot of effort into his work and, at the same time, has done everything he could to make the present we live better. Yet, despite everything, the past has always played a major role in his life. A difficult, extremely painful past. A past that cannot be forgotten and that absolutely must be told, so that certain mistakes can never be repeated. Marko Feingold was in fact interned in no fewer than four concentration camps during his youth because of his Jewish origins. And on these very occasions, his entire family was murdered.

The filmmakers’ camera listens reverently to his stories and confidences. Feingold is constantly filmed in close-up, while a totally black background further emphasises him. Likewise, a sombre black and white background highlights the dramatic nature of his words. There is no need for anything else in Marko Feingold – A Jewish Life. A simple and essential mise en scène – enriched only by a few archive footage, by captions showing us some recent messages from neo-Nazis and by short documentaries made mainly in the United States during World War II – therefore proves to be quite appropriate.

The directorial approach adopted here is undoubtedly extreme and courageous and, in different contexts, could even be risky. Yet the filmmakers know their stuff and the best decision, in this case, is to leave the word (almost) exclusively to the protagonist. The past is more alive and painful than ever in Marko Feingold – A Jewish Life. Similarly, past and present meet, ‘collide’, and turn out to be much more similar than it might initially seem. Black and white gives the documentary universal connotations, the absence of music (except for the brief video inserts) ensures that the viewer focuses exclusively on Marko Feingold’s face and on his words. And so his stories and deep reflections immediately give rise to a profound and never banal analysis of the world we live in, of what has been and, last but not least, of society. Precious images of what we are and what we have been. Images of a man who has died many times, but, thanks to cinema, is now finally immortal.

Original title: Marko Feingold – Ein jüdisches Leben
Directed by: Christian Kermer, Christian Krönes, Florian Weigensamer, Roland Schrotthofer
Country/year: Austria / 2021
Running time: 114’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Christian Krönes, Roland Schrotthofer, Florian Weigensamer
Cinematography: Christian Kermer
Produced by: Blackbox Film, Medienproduktion GmbH

Info: the page of Marko Feingold – A Jewish Life on the website of the Österreichisches Filminstitut