Four Seasons Lodge has an elevator pitch"A Catskills colony of Holocaust survivors is threatened with eviction after 25 summers together!"that drew Albert Maysles on board as a cinematographer, and his instincts didnt steer him wrong. What's surprising about a documentary with such an obvious hook is its unforced but trenchant look at the crisis of faith dividing a small group of mostly Polish Jews who suffered through one of the most godless blights on human history. Out of a hundred or so tenants, director Andrew Jacobs focuses on a half-dozen, several of whom have known each other since the war; having lost almost every relative they had, they sought out not only a new life but a new family in America. Jacobs, a New York Times reporter who discovered the colony while reporting on Catskills living in 2005, lets moments of peace, sadness, and consternation play out gracefully among the elderly residents, who cajole and crab at each other like siblings. Survivors with increasingly numbered days (several have died since the filming), the most biting observations come from those, like groundskeeper Hymie Abramowitz, who still revel in Jewish culture but left God where God left them: at the gates of Auschwitz.
Andrew JacobsVictor Lewis, Regina Lewis, Carl Potok, Esther GeizhalsAndrew JacobsMatthew LavineFirst Run Features