Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Four Seasons Lodge

I was perusing an American publication online and discovered this documentary: Four Seasons Lodge.

Taken from a program where it premiered at a film festival in Washington last month:

In 2005, New York Times journalist Andrew Jacobs found a group of Holocaust survivors who, since 1979, have spent their summers together at the Four Seasons Lodge, one of the few remaining bungalow communities hidden in upstate New York’s lush Catskill mountains. Jacobs was so mesmerized by the group that he returned as a filmmaker to document the rich traditions, lifelong friendships, and collective memory of the residents before they disappeared.

Now in their 80s and 90s, the German and Polish Jews of the Four Seasons Lodge are among the few who continue the Catskill summer vacation tradition. Every summer they gather, laughing and bickering like family, recounting unthinkable times through bittersweet tears and finding strength and refuge in each other’s company.

Lodge president Carl patrols the grounds, resolving issues and squabbles. Vice president Hymie’s handyman skills and humor are always in demand. Genya and Olga, friends for over 65 years, confide and argue like sisters. Jacobs shows them in the present, and traces their history through revealing archival footage and photos. As summer nears its end, the Lodge’s future is uncertain: some residents push for its sale while others are adamant that their refuge remain intact. Yet whatever happens, the family bonds will remain.

A comical yet touching portrait, FOUR SEASONS LODGE celebrates the lives of those who have overcome unfathomable events. As one of the residents proclaims, “To live this long, this well, is a victory.”

Check out the trailer.