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Robinson Film Center Screening Documentary on Jewish Partisans

On April 28th, the Robinson Film Center is hosting a screening of the 2022 documentary film Four Winters, directed by Julia Mintz.

On April 28th, the Robinson Film Center is hosting a screening of the 2022 documentary film Four Winters, directed by Julia Mintz.

The film tells the story, from their perspective, of Jewish Partisans, who fought back against the Nazis during World War II.

Julia Mintz It's about bravery. It's about resilience and resistance against unimaginable odds. And it's been a fascination. The film features five women and three men. Four Winters is truly focused on this region between Eastern Europe and Belarus where there were hundreds and hundreds of miles of woods, and woods, and woods. And it’s about how they escaped into the forest, figured out how to survive, find their courage, manifest the bravery that it took to just live and see another day. Afterwards, of course, their escapes- which were miraculous really. And then it’s the story, their human story, of how they ultimately fought back. The discovery on my part, that there were over 25,000 Jewish people, young people, mostly, that banded together in these permissible forests. Dug themselves into ditches in the earth and not only survived there but fought back against the Nazis and their collaborators. Blowing up the infrastructure, blowing up trains. There's an Underground Railroad, in essence, that brought people from the ghettos and into the forest. And it's a fascinating story that is unique, in many ways, to the Holocaust. But at its core, it's actually a story of our humanity and war and resilience and resistance. And in many ways it's sort of a tribute through the personal narrative.

Through those who lived this history and then sharing the story with you. There's no one else who talks on the phone but the partisans but the Jewish partisans who lived this history.

Julia Mintz has a lengthy history in filmmaking. Mintz says she had the idea to make Four Winters for years, and it was a lengthy process to get it to where it is today.

Julia Mintz Well the process was an adventure. We traveled around the world: the United States and Canada and Lithuania and Poland and Belarus and interviewed people in all of those places. And then folks came in to be interviewed from other parts of the world. Hours and hours, sometimes days, we spent together. I mean that was the most beautiful, and the most intense and life-affirming journey to be on. And the archives, of course, are their own fascination. Most significantly, really, the archives that are in majority of the film, came from the Partisons themselves. Everyone we interviewed, over the courses of their lifetimes, they had collected film clips and videos, and wanted to share their libraries and all their films that friends and family had pulled together to help them understand and hold on to this history that documented what they lived through. And then, of course, you go back into the editing room and you have your hundreds and hundreds of pages of material. And, you know, you have to bring it down to a 90-minute, give or take, film. That was, uh, that was a tremendous amount of work. But I’m told it’s quite good.

The film has been nominated for many awards at film festivals across the nation, and it won Best Documentary at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Mintz will be present at the screening in

the Robinson Film Center to answer questions about the film, and recommends anyone who is interested to come and watch it.

Julia Mintz This film is for all people everywhere. And I think that’s not only because of the story, but because of the way the film is told. It’s quite unique in that. The film kind of charities this double-linear story. The timeline, of course, of World War 2 and the Holocaust. But it is actually the timeline of the human experience in that frame. And it is serious. The film will make you laugh and cry and make you want to get up and cheer. It takes you on a really wonderful journey. And I think that’s the thing that people have said about it. I mean that’s the story of the woman at Lincoln Center who grabbed me by the shoulder and says, ‘Wow! That was like a movie!’ The film is paced and dynamic and inspiring and very moving, and I think the overall feedback is that the film really takes you somewhere that you didn’t expect.