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The Flat


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Editorial Reviews

In the gripping autobiographical documentary THE FLAT, filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger travels to Tel Aviv to clean out the apartment of his recently deceased German-born Jewish grandmother. While going through her belongings, Goldfinger finds evidence suggesting that she and her husband were good friends with Leopold von Mildenstein, a leading official in the Nazi propaganda ministry and remained friends with him following World War II. Disturbed that his grandparents could have continued a close relationship with an influential Nazi after the Holocaust, Goldfinger begins an unsettling journey into his family s history, visiting a peaceful town in Germany to interview von Mildenstein s elderly daughter about what really went on with their ancestors 75 years earlier and discovers that knowing the truth can be a terrible burden. Both arresting and heartbreaking, THE FLAT is a real-life suspense story about how the past can return to haunt the present.

Product Details

  • Actors: Arnon Goldfinger, Hannah Goldfinger
  • Directors: Arnon Goldfinger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, Hebrew
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AADAEH6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,867 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By LRK on September 21, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I enjoyed this film, though it was also painful to watch. I speak Hebrew fluently, which allowed me to catch nuances English language only viewers might miss--especially from the filmmaker's mother, Chana, who is both compassionate and, like many Israeli Jews of her generation, especially those with "yekke" parents (German Jews), self-protective and deeply ambivalent about the journey her son insists on taking. To her credit, she accompanies him, and for me, the heart of the story lay in that mother/son relationship and the journey, which despite many revelations, contains mysteries that cannot be answered; all the players (the Jewish Kuchlers and the German couple with whom they continued a warm social relationship after the war) are gone by the time the Kuchler's grandson begins his quest to understand the relationship between the two couples.

I disagree with some of the reviewers' take on the filmmaker's interaction with the German daughter of the filmmaker's grandparents' Nazi friend. I don't think he was trying to shame the daughter, but rather, telling the truth mattered, and although he appreciated her welcoming him and his mother into her home, what he found was fact, which he chose not to whitewash. When we're talking about something as brutal as genocide, and complicity or active involvement in that genocide, truth trumps the niceties of social interaction. I've spent time in Berlin, and when I was a kid in Israel, had close German non-Jewish friends whose families likely historically included Nazis, and what mattered to me was that we talked truthfully about the past.
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Format: DVD
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Imagine that your grandmother has just passed away and your family is cleaning out her apartment. Amidst all the stuff your grandmother has collected, you find a tantalizing and shocking newspaper article involving your grandparents that you never heard about before from any other family member including your mother. This is essentially the set-up for 'The Flat', a fascinating new documentary by Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger.

Goldfinger's grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, were German Jews who emigrated to Palestine (now Israel) in 1936 after the Nazis forced them out. The article was from a virulent Nazi newspaper, Der Angriff, from 1934, which chronicles a trip made by a high Nazi official, Leopold von Mildenstein, to Palestine. The article features photos of Mildenstein traveling to Palestine with Goldfinger's grandparents.

The mystery is not only why this SS man would go to Palestine with two Jews but why Goldfinger's grandparents would accompany him. Furthermore, Goldfinger discovers that his grandparents visited Mildenstein in Germany AFTER World War II numerous times and kept up a friendship with him and his wife.

The documentary brings out the fact that in 1934 the Nazi policy of 'The Final Solution' (i.e. the extermination of the Jewish people) had not been developed and there was some consideration of deporting German Jews to Palestine. Mildenstein apparently was on a scouting mission to see if deportation was a feasible solution to the "Jewish Question". Mildenstein actually headed the SS Office of Jewish Affairs prior to it being taken over by the infamous Adolph Eichmann.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By squiggysmom on May 8, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This documentary certainly held my interest. What could be more shocking than finding out that your Jewish grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, remained life-long friends with a powerful Nazi insider who was a high-ranking officer in the department of propaganda? I found their daughter's complete disinterest and disconnect from all her parent's history both disturbing and baffling. Don't expect a neatly wrapped up ending. There are more questions than answers.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pete W. on January 1, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
First I'll state that I'm not Jewish, but I am certainly sympathetic and sickened by atrocity suffered upon them by a bigoted world and the Nazi regime especially.

This is a documentary made by a middle aged Israeli fellow begins with the death of his maternal grand mother and the dispensing of the contents left behind by his departed grand parents. Mysteries are discovered as he and his siblings and mother begin to clear out the apartment shared by his grand parents for 50 years. Discoveries that begin to reveal things that were understandably disturbing for him and his family.

Unfortunately he decides to impose his discoveries on the child of the questionable, probably sinister people his grand parents had been friends with. What made his actions despicable in my opinion was that he sought out his discoveries under the guise of developing a friendship with this person. He knew way more about the subject of his inquiries than he let unto her and almost tormented her by slowly revealing that her parents particularly her father, were, most likely, monsters. This is where he lost my admiration for his truth seeking and gained my disrespect in it's place. Turns out, most of his questions were easily answered through public records and archives. He did not need to continue the ruse of friendship after his initial contact, yet he continues it and it's torture like consequences when he could have simply moved on and let this apparently innocent and guileless elderly woman be. Like he wanted to punish her for the sins of her parents.

This film became so muddled I'm not sure what the ambition of the filmmaker was, but I'm assuming, my disrespect for his work, was not his goal.

Based simply on the overall quality of the films pace and composition I'd probably have given it 3 stars, but based for it's lack of moral conscience I gave it 2 stars.
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