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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Judaism > Holocaust > History > House Of Life – The Old Jewish Cemetery In Prague (2008/First Run Features DVD)

House Of Life – The Old Jewish Cemetery In Prague (2008/First Run Features DVD)


Picture: C+    Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: B-



Allan Miller’s House Of Life (2008) tells the story of a very old cemetery that has an estimated 100,000 buried, was the only place Nazis let Jewish children play and has become this sacred place of life, death, defiance and legacy of survival that no one can wash away.  There are huge stones all over the place, some worn down by time.  I thought it would be just another look at a historic cemetery, but there is something more profound about this.


Claire Bloom does a great job of narrating, in what is very sensitive material and as I understand Judaism, sacred ground is a very serious thing considering the beliefs.  Running 54 minutes, it is a powerful work and makes us realize that cemeteries are not all the same, exist for more than just burying people and help us remember the past no matter how painful.  That is how this work earns its title by understanding that.


The 1.33 X 1 image originates on analog level video and some remarkable images come through, though others can be soft and blurry, but color often saves the day.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is simple stereo at best and has its share of location recording limits, yet Bloom’s voice is nicely recorded.  Extras include stills, text filmmaker bios and trailers for five more similarly themed First Run DVDs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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