An exhibition centered around a display by Israeli director Amos Gitai opened over the weekend at the Palais de Tokyo modern arts center in Paris. The display, titled "Traces," focuses on Munio Gitai Weinraub, the director's father.
In the 1930's, Weinraub was a student at the Bauhaus design and architecture school in the city of Dessau, closed by Hitler in 1933.
"The question the exhibition asks is why Hitler closed the school, and it happened because Bauhaus threatened his ambition to create monumental, intimidating architecture," said Gitai. After the school was closed, Weinraub began handing out anti-government pamphlets in Frankfurt, was caught and sent to prison.
Gitai conceived the exhibition after learning of documents found recently in his mother's drawer, including a statement noting Gitai was sent to prison for "betraying the German people."
The "Traces" display includes 13 films and clips projected onto the bare walls of the building, enveloping viewers in images and sounds.
Nine projectors show clips from Gitai's films, and a film he completed several weeks ago, reconstructing the tribulations his father faced in the 1930s.
"In recent years I've been focusing on that family microcosm, both through my mother's letters in my film 'Carmel,' and through my father's works. Most of my own works usually say something about a certain context, but now the context appears to be so chaotic I decided I want to say something about the tiniest microcosm, my parents," said Gitai.
"I think in their life stories they charted a very clear course that allows me to say very specific things about history, even as I stay close to that biographical chart," he said.
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