Tuesday, January 23, 7:15 pm
Simon Family JCC
5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach

In August, 1945, a remote Hungarian town prepares for the wedding of the village magistrate’s son. Meanwhile two Orthodox Jews arrive at the train station with two coffin-shaped wooden crates, supposedly filled with soaps and perfumes.

When the town gets wind of their arrival, rumors spread about their intentions. Are these men going to set up shop? Is this a harbinger of the return of more Jews? Led by the boorish village magistrate, the townspeople fear that these strangers may be heirs of the village’s denounced and deported Jewish neighbors and have come to claim their family’s stolen property. Paranoia runs rampant, leading to tragic events and a potent, unexpected ending.

While many films exist about the Holocaust, few are about its immediate aftermath when greed and material gain from the Jewish peoples’ demise was pervasive. Director Ferenc Török cleverly captures this often overlooked moment in history where one town’s actions become a metaphor for the moral decay of the entire country. Filmed in black and white with an eye for exquisite composition and a minimal evocative score, 1945 is a subtle and nuanced study of the collective guilt and enduring anti-Semitism of postwar Hungary.

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