Friendship between Holocaust survivor, Iranian filmmaker revealed in documentary
Published Monday, September 4, 2017 6:23PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 4, 2017 7:00PM EDT
It’s an unusual friendship between two men who couldn’t seem more different. One is an octogenarian sculptor who came to Canada after surviving the horrors of the Holocaust.
The other is a decades younger Iranian Muslim filmmaker.
But for the past 10 years, Shahin Parhami has been documenting the life of Marcel Braitstein, feeling that in the story of the artist’s life there are valuable lessons about the human condition.
“With the refugee crisis in the world and the political climate these days, I feel it can be a good example of how we can live in harmony and understanding of each other,” said Parhami. “From everywhere in society, in every ethnic and religious group, there are good people and bad people. It’s nice when the good people can surface and somehow connect.”
Braitstein knows something about conflict and it’s reflected in his work. His sculptures often evoke images of violence and darkness, but evoke the sense that beauty can still be found in the worst situations.
“Images of broken things and steel and metal, the horrors that came with that had, to me, a certain aesthetic feeling,” he said.
His love of creating art was evident from a young age, even as he lived through World War II.
“I always liked manipulating things and working with my hands,” he said. “Even as a child in Belgium, when we had very little food and the bread was so mucky, I would even start modelling the bread.”
His methods are documented in the film, dubbed simply ‘Marcel,’ which will Parhami will soon submit to festivals.
Braitstein said he’s glad to leave something behind once he’s gone.
“I will be glad to have some sort of a record, as seen by somebody else’s eyes of where I came from,” he said.