Originally released in December 2009, the video has been the source of some controversy. Dancing at Auschwitz and other memorialized sites of the Holocaust? How profane.
But it is a Holocaust survivor dancing, with the grandchildren it was intended he never have. The second of the three videos, set to Leonard Cohen‘s “Dance Me to the End of Love,” is the kind of artfully transcendent creation one might expect on the subject, refreshed here in its power because of what it follows. The first video, in contrast, is artless and goofy, offered to the kitsch of Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive.” It is the kitsch, rescued by the spirit of play, that can make the first video moving in its raw particularity. Transcendence is not always, even mostly, the end of Shindler’s List, or a solemn visit to a concentration camp or Yad Vashem. Most days on earth transcendence comes in the quotidian moment, eating, smiling, opening oneself to the next moment and the next: remembering the past while being triumphantly silly with your grandchildren. Stay with the first video through the black out till its final seconds.
(H/T Yaacov Lozowick)
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