For a limited season, from Sunday 27 October, The Songs They Sang will screen at Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick.
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, Lithuania, which occurred on the 24 September 1943, this haunting documentary is a musical narrative of the Vilna Ghetto during the Holocaust. It is both an acknowledgement of the horror encountered on a daily basis within the ghetto and a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in surmounting this terrible period as survivors recall these songs and the importance of these performances.
The Director’s Cut of The Songs They Sang (94 minutes) tellsthe true story of the musical recitals that took place inside the ghetto during World War II. It explores the resilience of the Jewish people who created art despite shocking persecution and considers the legacy of these songs and the various people dedicated to preserving such music today.
The film centers on two artists, Shmerke Kaczerginski and Avrom Sutzkever and the songs composed by them and others encamped in the ghetto. Despite incredible obstacles, these artists refused to relinquish their culture and strove to bring hope to a besieged people, who, through these performances, could escape the harsh reality of their lives for a few precious hours.
Now, seventy years later, Australian composer Joseph Giovinazzo has rearranged ten Vilna Ghetto songs and has also written original compositions, some of which are featured in the documentary.
In addition to the documentary, The Songs They Sang also encompasses a concert and a 27 track CD. The Songs They Sang Concert will occur at 2.00pm on Sunday 20 October 2013 at the South Melbourne Town Hall.
The concert will feature songs created in the Vilna Ghetto and arranged by Joseph Giovinazzo and will be performed by: Deborah Kayser (soprano); Michael Kieran Harvey (piano); Elizabeth Sellars (violin) and Alister Barker (cello).
Renowned Family Therapist, Moshe Lang, who has spent the past four decades working with Holocaust survivors and their families, will also launch The Songs They Sang CD at the concert.
A work-in-progress of The Songs They Sang also screened at the Bayside Film Festival in July 2010. The 7.30 Report did a 7-minute segment on the film that was titled, Making Art in the Face of Death. It was broadcast nationally on the 20/07/2010. Transcript and video can be found at: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s2959390.htm
Tickets for the Sunday 20 October concert, which are $25 / $20 (concession), can be purchased at: www.trybooking.com/62879