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Six Million and One

The past is at once ever-present and ignored according to Six Million and One, Israeli documentarian David Fisher's film about his trip to Austria to the Nazi concentration camp where his father, Joseph, suffered. For David, this journey—driven by his dad's memoir, discovered after his death—is one of healing, but for the three siblings whom he compels to join him, it's a hurtful and unnecessary confrontation of pain better left buried, so the present can be enjoyed. The acts of remembering and forgetting are inextricably knotted throughout Fisher's visits to the locations where Joseph toiled, which is also interrupted by a conversation with U.S. military vets still coping with post-traumatic stress from their camp-liberation experiences. Fisher's use of POV shots overlaid with narrated readings from his father's diary poignantly captures his desire to consciously inhabit scarred spaces that today—as evidenced by the sight of a family returning home to what was once the camp commander's house—have been transformed into everyday locales stripped of their historical significance. All the while, Fisher and his kin's incessant, contentious bickering exposes the ongoing difficulty of reconciling with inherited trauma, though such squabbling's protracted prominence also, ultimately, suggests the need for a bit more editorial trimming. Nick Schager


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