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Synopsis: In 1943, a young Ashkenazim namely Akiva risks a journey through Miechów in Poland in order to fulfill his obligation of honouring his deceased mother on the anniversary of her death. He gets arrested by the Nazis, and finds one of his known elderly Rabbi in Nazis custody. The rabbi, who has lost his entire family in the Holocaust, is hoping to escape Poland for the Promised Land. They become able to escape from the Nazis. His journey is accompanied by Rabbi, so that Akiva can visit his mother’s grave and perform a Jewish ritual.

Language

Yiddish, German & Polish

Run Time

14 minutes

Starring

Aurel Samuel (Akiva Yakov)
Paul Grossman (Rebbe (Rabbi))

Directed by

Razid Season

Edited by

Alex Lora

Composer

Lukas Schüßler

Production Designer

Razid Season

Cinematographer

Uladzimir Taukachou

Director's Statement

I was born in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates; and grew up in Bangladesh, where a deadly genocide took the lives of three million people. The story of that immense loss has always haunted me. As a filmmaker, I feel an obligation to tell stories that speak out against all forms of persecution, inequality, discrimination, and racism. Making these stories into films is my calling.

Kaddish is one such film. A film set in Nazi-occupied Poland. Literally, Kaddish is the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. It motivates the main character’s struggle. And, it is the impetus for his journey in the face of unimaginable horror. It is a story about fear, and survival, faith and spirituality, hope and humanity, family, and tragedy. We risk our lives for our intangible emotion that drives us to do every impossible task in this world. Kaddish is the story of people who do what they can to maintain their self-respect and dignity in the face of unimaginable terror and tragedy — a message that resounds strongly today.

Ultimately, Kaddish is a film about the power of the human spirit. I tell the story of all victims and ask how these tragic events can continue — as we watch the news and read the headlines detailing brutality around the world.

I know the ultimate cost of hate, and as a filmmaker, I try to tell stories that reflect the tragedy of real people caught in this tide of hatred and fear. I hope the language of cinema can open our hearts and heal the pain of fear and hatred and allow us to live in peace.

Director's Bio

Razid Season is an independent filmmaker based in New York. He was born in the UAE & raised in Bangladesh. He also runs a non-profit film production company Image Maker Films Inc. He studied MFA (Filmmaking) at CUNY. He has received a number of awards for his films- the NYMAN Award, New York & Isla Lon Angeles Award for three of his films- Maze, Statue of an Angel & Kaddish, and Honorable Mention from Columbus Jewish Film festival in 2020. His recent holocaust drama-thriller ‘Kaddish’ has been shown in a number of festivals around the world including the 43rd Asian American International Film Festival, New York.

Production Year

2019

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