Past Life

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About The Film

Two Israeli sisters unravel the shocking truth about their father’s murky wartime experiences in PAST LIFE, a hybrid detective thriller and heart-tugging melodrama by award-winning filmmaker Avi Nesher.

Set in the late 1970s, the film centers on the daughters of Holocaust survivors, combative liberal journalist Nana (Nelly Tagar) and her younger sister Sephi (Joy Rieger), a soprano and aspiring composer. After a performance in West Berlin, Sephi is accosted by an elderly Polish woman who angrily accuses her father of murder. Traumatized by the startling encounter, the sisters launch an investigation, attempting to discover what really happened to their father (Doron Tavory) in Poland during the war. As guilty secrets and troubling revelations are dredged up, PAST LIFE boldly charts dangerous emotional territory, still very much part of the Israeli collective subconscious.

Writer-director Avi Nesher, himself the son of Holocaust survivors, based his screenplay on actual events chronicled in Can Heaven Be Void?, the wartime diaries of Dr. Baruch Milch. The film’s polished period details, rich-hued cinematography and handsome production design are further served by a hauntingly beautiful musical soundtrack. 

Film Details

Running Time 
107 minutes
Atlanta Premiere