World War II. Tsili, a young Jewish woman, is hiding in the forest South of Czernowicz. Her entire family was deported to the camps. Hiding in the war zone, she builds a nest for herself.
Escaping the savagery of the valley, she finds refuge in the nature. One day, Marek discovers her nest. He adresses her in Yiddish and finds out that she belongs to his people. Marek settles in the nest with Tsili. One day he will go down to the village to look for food. He will never return.
The war is over. Tsili starts walking. She finds a group of people as sembling next to the coast looking for a boat that will take them to another land.
Inspired by the novel by Aharon Appelfeld, the film tells the story of the wandering of its heroin submerged in the nightmare of the war. Tsili gathers all the forces of intuition and vitality to survive in this desperate universe.
I chose to incarnate the story of Tsili, using three female protagonists: two actresses, Sarah and Meshi, of different ages, and one female voice, the one of Lea Koenig. As if this generation of young women survivors, abused by the Holocaust, had big holes in their biographies. As if the years of youth and pleasure were missing and never be given back to them. The film was shot in Yiddish, the language of the European Diaspora.
I was inspired by what Aharon Appelfeld told Philip Roth :
''The reality of the Holocaust surpassed any imagination. If I remained true to the facts, no one would believe me. But the moment I chose a girl, a little older than I was at that time, I removed ''the story of my life'' from the mighty grip of memory and gave it over to the creative laboratory. There memory is not the only proprietor. There one needs a causal explanation, a thread to tie things together. The exceptional is permissible only if it is part of an overall structure and contributes to its understanding.
When I wrote ''Tsili'' I was interested in the possibilities of naiveness in art. Can there be a naive modern art? It seemed to me that without the naivete still found among children and old people and, to some extent, in ourselves, the work of art would be flawed. I tried to correct that flaw. ''
Yiddish, ukrainien, polonais, allemand et russe - sous-titres français
Cast Sara Adler, Meshi Olinski, Lea Koenig, Adam Tsekhman, Andrey Kashkar, Yelena Yaralova Screenplay Amos Gitai, Marie-José Sanselme, d'après un roman d'Aharon Appelfeld Cinematography Giora Bejach Sound Tulli Chen. Montage son : Alex Claude Editing Yuval Orr, Isabelle Ingold Production design AndreI Chernikov Costumes Dani Bar Shai Production Agav Films, Archipel 35, Hamon Hafakot, Trikita Entertainment, Citrullo International Producer(s) Michael Tapuach, Laurent Truchot, Yury Krestinskiy, Pavel Douvidzon, Denis Freyd, Amos Gitai. Producteurs associés : Carlo Hintermann, Gerardo Panichi, Luca Venitucci, Leon Edry, Moshe Edry. Avec le soutien de : Israeli Film Fund, Russian Film Fund
Venice : Biennale di Venezia / Mostra d'arte cinematografica
Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival
Morelia International Film Festival
Warsaw Jewish Film Festival
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
New York Jewish Film Festival