My Mother's Courage

Director/Writer/Producer: Michael Verhoeven
Directors of Photography:Michael Epp and Theo Bierkens
Editor:David Freeman
Music:Julian Nott and Simon Verhoeven
Production Designer:Wolfgang Hundhammer
National Center for Jewish Film; NR; 88 minutes
Cast:Pauline Collins, Ulrich Tukur, Natalie Morse, Heribert Sasse, Robert Giggenback, Buddy Elias, Günter Bothur and George Tabori
Based on the writings of George Tabori

Few filmmakers would dare tackle the Holocaust comically, and even fewer could manage the task with intelligence and flair. Verhoeven succeeds on both levels because he uses the humor in My Mother's Courage to highlight the horror of the subject. Set in Budapest in 1944, the film watches as Elsa Tabori (Collins) is handcuffed and led into a packed train station by two polite, elderly guards who are almost apologetic. She naively mills about hundreds of Jews who show no dread or fear because they think they're going to Sweden. As her journey to death begins, Elsa starts to understand her fate and convinces the presiding officer (Tukur) that she's left a safe conduct pass at home. For some reason, the officer lets Elsa return to Budapest with him in the first-class car and lectures her on the evils of eating flesh.

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