I Am Here (2021)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 13m

A life-affirming documentary and celebration of the life of 98-year-old Ella Blumenthal. At her birthday party, she opens up to close friends and family about her story of survival during the Holocaust in a way she has never done before.

Ella lives the present day to the fullest - in sunny Cape Town – in a vibrant, spirited, and enthusiastic manner. This is juxtaposed with harrowing memories and uplifting moments in her fight for survival, depicted in innovative 2D animation.

The present-day is an amalgamation of her weekly routine, such as walking on the promenade, swimming, and practicing her spiritual rituals. This is combined with interactions with family and friends, where Ella shares inspiring narratives and anecdotes on her resilience and her key life lessons. These encounters will leave the audience crying and laughing along with Ella and her playful personality.

Ella is a fantastic raconteur and character to follow. Ella perfectly encapsulates a strong-willed, unwavering woman, who will stop at nothing to live life to the fullest and cherish every single moment. Her joie de vivre is unexpected given her traumatic past.

This past is shown through animated memories which include tales of survival from three concentration camps: Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Bergen Belsen, where she narrowly avoids death in seemingly serendipitous situations. Her memories extend to convincing her niece not to commit suicide and reiterations of her faith in dark times. The audience can observe how Ella’s experiences shaped both her and her family.

She is not your average grandmother, her vivacious personality and her positive outlook on life are truly inspiring. As one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in the world, Ella shares a universal message of resilience. This film could not be more relevant to today in a world that still defines itself by what is ‘other.’

Director

JORDY SANK

Languages

English, Hebrew, Yiddish

Country

South Africa