The Yatzkans


Sunday, Nov. 13 at 12:00pm
Plaza Frontenac Cinema

Viewing great historical events from a highly personal perspective, “The Yatzkans” traces the journey of the film’s eponymous family across war-torn 20th-century Europe. When Anna-Célia Kendall’s mother dies, the filmmaker must deal with the remaining personal effects, and the process of sifting through those paintings, letters, and photos sends her down a rabbit hole. As Kendall investigates her family’s background — taking an intriguingly postmodern approach that incorporates the search for information into the fim’s structure — she discovers that her maternal grandfather was a pioneering figure in Yiddish journalism in Europe. The oppression and persecution of European Jews thus become central elements in the Yatzkans’ story, with the Holocaust assuming an increasingly prominent place in the film. Through her research, the filmmaker also connects with till-now-unknown Yatzkan relatives, and several gather in Paris to discuss their shared legacy. Serendipitously, one of Kendall’s cousins is a conceptual and performance artist who has used some of the same family material in her own work. That art is then incorporated — in an interestingly mediated fashion — into the film, and the cousin becomes a collaborator as the pair travels in search of key places in their family history.

75 min.
French & English

Directed by

Anna-Célia Kendall

Film Category

International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Robert French and French-Language Focus Women in Film Spotlight


With a post-film discussion with video artist and scholar Pier Marton.