Our Father

Ch. 15 The Last Phantom — the First Film: Our Father (1966/1990)

Filmmaker Boris Ermolaev’s attempts to make this film date back to 1966. Only in 1990, with the demise of Soviet censorship, did Our Father become a reality. The plot is as simple as it is tragic: a nameless Jewish woman wanders the streets with her little son, hoping to hold out until the deportation ends. She makes multiple stops along the way, trying to find shelter from the cold, and a safe haven for her boy, to no avail. Finally, dejected and exhausted, she rests on a park bench. This is where the woman and her son are found in the morning, frozen to death. They are thrown into a truck, where their bodies join other frozen corpses. This scene, which occurs at the very end of the film, is included here.

  1. The film is based on a much earlier short story by a famous Soviet writer. What did the film add to it?
  2. How is the resulting film, made in 1990, different from the original screenplay, penned in the 1960s?
  3. What is the relationship between music in the soundtrack and visual images in this clip?
  4. How does this scene compare with earlier Soviet films about the Holocaust, and with international films?