Mr. Zwilling and Mrs. Zuckermann
Czernowitz in western Ukraine was once the centre of Jewish culture in Bukovina, a border landscape that was characterised by a mixture of peoples over the centuries. At times, the Jewish population made up half of the inhabitants; only a few survived the deportation to the camps in Transnistria imposed by the Germans and Romanians in 1941. Volker Koepp's film from 1999 focuses on Mr Zwilling and Mrs Zuckermann, who were among the last Jews still born in old Czernowitz. Besides their friendship, the two are connected not least by the German language. Mr Zwilling visits the 90-year-old Mrs Zuckermann every evening. They talk about earlier times, what they have experienced together, about politics and literature and their everyday worries. The misery of the 20th century is hidden in the life stories of these two people. The film links their memories with episodes from Jewish life in Czernowitz in the late 1990s, when the city first re-entered European consciousness after the end of the Soviet Union. In view of the resurgence of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, Koepp's cinematic masterpiece has lost none of its expressiveness and validity even 20 years after its premiere. The lives of the people in the region have also remained difficult with the political disputes, with the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
Direction: Volker Koepp
Script: Volker Koepp, Barbara Frankenstein
Original Title: Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann
Original Languages: German, Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian, Yiddish
Film Production Country: Germany