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“Nathan-ism” – Elan Golod’s Testament to the Power of Art and Memory, To Be Screened 22nd International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.



In the realm of documentary filmmaking, where truth and storytelling intertwine, there are rare gems that transcend the screen to evoke profound contemplation and stir the soul. Elan Golod set out on a mission to tell a story about one mans truth that is also the truth of many. The results of this; is the extraordinary journey into the intricate web of memory, art, and historical reckoning in the film “Nathan-ism“.

At the heart of this documentary film lies Nathan Hilu, a figure whose life story unfolds like the pages of a compelling novel. A son of Syrian Jewish immigrants, Hilu found himself thrust into the pivotal role of guarding Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials an experience that would shape his artistic expression for decades to come.

Golod‘s documentary invites us into Hilu’s world, where his autobiographical artwork serves as both a mirror and a window into the past. Through delicate strokes and bold lines, Hilu weaves a tapestry of memory, capturing the nuances of human experience with an intimacy that is both haunting and illuminating.

What sets “Nathan-ism” apart is its ability to navigate the labyrinthine corridors of truth and fiction that characterize our understanding of history. Through Hilu‘s artwork, we confront the complexities of memory and how it can both illuminate and obscure, reveal and distort. Each stroke of his pen becomes a testament to the power of storytelling, inviting us to question not only the stories we are told but also how we choose to remember.

The film’s strength lies in its willingness to embrace the ambiguities of Hilu‘s narrative, presenting a kaleidoscopic portrait of a man whose memories have taken on a life of their own. We are drawn into a world where the past and present intertwine, where fact blurs with imagination, and where the boundaries between observer and observed dissolve.

Elan Golod’s journey with this project began when he found an article online about an exhibit of Hilu’s work. The immediate connection with Nathan Hilu’s drawings and how they tackle sombre subject matters with vibrant colours was formed.

Elan Golod

Faced with an ethical dilemma, he had to first verify the truths of Nathan Hilu‘s experiences. Gaining his trust is certainly one of the influences of this film’s honest results and reception. Golod admits that he needed to summon the courage to confront him before attempting this film.

Having served in the military service in Israel, it is understandable why Golod would be connected this much to film and why it was necessary for him to keep it as honest as it should be. The film itself has a unique tone with its observational style and how it generates a feeling of a mystery getting solved by a detective longing for answers and clarity.

With the aid of a formidable team of like-minded creatives, Golod successfully blends various elements such as animation, archival footage and a compelling original score to bring his artistic vision of this film together.

The collaborative efforts cannot go unseen in ‘Nathan-ism’. It is clear how well all the elements of this film complement each other. But Golod’s choice of additional subjects for the film cannot go unseen. He carefully selected characters who not only serve as supporting voices to Nathan’s story but also provide some extra context and depth to the clarity that this film intends to bring.

As challenging and complex as it can be to involve real-life characters in documentary narratives, we are presented with a fresh perspective of the Nuremberg trials through Nathan Hilu’s eyes and Golod’s lens.

As we journey alongside Hilu, we are confronted with the weight of history and the responsibility of bearing witness. Through his eyes, we see not only the faces of monsters but also the humanity that lurks beneath which serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is light to be found.

But perhaps the most poignant moment of “Nathan-ism” lies in its journey to this point which is being culminated by a screening at the original courtroom where the Nuremberg trials took place. Here, amidst the echoes of history, Hilu‘s artwork hopefully found its most meaningful audience, a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend time and space.

Nathan-ism” finally screening there on the 13th of February this year brought to the fore an important part of the tribunal’s history that many people are still learning about.

As the film prepares to grace the screens of the 22nd Annual Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Ukraine which is happening from 31st May to 9th June, its relevance is more timely now than ever.

In a world that is currently plagued by injustice and amnesia, this documentary film serves as a rallying cry for remembrance, a testament to the enduring power of art and memory to illuminate the darkest corners of history. It serves as a journey into the depths of the human soul, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a celebration of the power of art to bear witness to the truths that lie buried beneath the surface.

As Golod continues to captivate audiences around the globe with this film, we should be reminded that in a world besieged by darkness, there is always hope and that sometimes, all it takes is a single stroke of the pen to illuminate the path forward.

Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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