Inspired by her own Jewish family’s exodus from Russia, director Florence Mialihe’s sumptuously animated film charts the perilous journey of two young siblings as they are forced to flee their war-torn village. Separated from their parents, Kyona and her brother Adriel become refugees, navigating their way to safety in another country. Set in an unnamed time and place, Miailhe’s allegorical construct effectively links today’s migrant crises with that of her own family. The first animated feature to employ hand-painted oil on glass, the film’s bold colour scheme lend a fairy tale quality to this emotionally moving story of courage and survival.
Themes: Holocaust, father-son relationships, family dynamics
Based on the graphic novel by renowned Israeli author and cartoonist Michel Kichka, My Father’s Secrets is a poignant story of a family living in the shadow of the Holocaust. Growing up in 1960s Belgium, Michel and his younger brother Charly know that their father is hiding a secret but his refusal to speak about his past casts a shadow on their otherwise happy childhood. Similar to Maus, the choice to render the story through animation allows the viewer to process a tale of generational trauma at a distance while underscoring the transformative power that art played in Michel’s relationship with his father.