LOVING THE DEAD
 
  I was moved to tears and deep thoughts while watching Loving the Dead. It is another important brick in the monument that must be rebuilt to remind our children of the tremendous contributions and sacrifices Jewish people have made all over the world. It further inspires me in my quest to make SCHINDLER'S LIST a film. Thank you for your film. All my best, Steven Spielberg.  
  Having had the opportunity to see the film LOVING THE DEAD, Steven Spielberg wrote a personal letter of appreciation.  
     
  The title, Loving the Dead, appearing as a piece of graffiti scrawled white on humanity's record, is a shock to the simple television viewer's eyes: it looms up clearing the mists around it, dispelling any sense of the macabre and telling you that this film is going to be something new and powerful. In her film, Mira Hamermesh, protagonist and director, went to Poland, the country of her birth, to find how the Poles in present day Poland live with the shadow cast over their lives by the millions of Jews murdered in their country during World War II.  
     
  Mira Hamermesh was far from home during the war, but her parents were there. Her father was sent to Auschwitz, her mother died in the Lodz ghetto. She revisits the house, looks up at a window where her parents had added some fitments, still there; opens a door in the ghetto, where they lived in a room with six other families, writing their letters, praising God that she is not with them, their only consolation in apartness. In the European backyard, home had shrunk to this.  
     
  Mira looks for her mother, finds her grave in a field of tall weeds, recalls the ghost she kept seeing in cafes, restaurants, places of life across Europe. Her mother as a living being, glimpsed through a café window, made up for the afternoon, taking coffee … A powerful film, and a record of Europe revisited like a home shrunken with time. The walls are drab, the stone unyielding, careless of history. Mira Hamermesh avoids stock shots, cliches and dramatic postures that could have interfered with the sensitivity of the film. This is a personal record that brings Poland, and Europe, gathering in on us like the dark wind in Rilke's "Duino Elegies". More than a documentary, a feature film with her own life at the centre and, around that core, the dedicated camera eye of an artist, unblinking, lighting on truth. A masterly achievement.  
  Gil Elliot on LOVING THE DEAD for The London Film Festival 1991