Watermarks

Directed by Yaron Zilberman

Release: 2004
Runtime: 77
Country: Israel, Middle East
Language: English, Hebrew, and German w/English subt.
Director: Yaron Zilberman
Writer: Yaron Zilberman

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"Yaron Zilberman's wonderful, heartwarming Watermarks" (Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times) narrates the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Vienna sports club Hakoah. Founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which forbade most Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes, Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe's biggest athletic organizations -- and its women's swim team virtually dominated national competitions in the 1930s.

An uplifting tale of survival and friendship, Watermarks focuses on the stories of the club's surviving members, while also faithfully recounting a historical period where prejudice and violence forced these brave women into exile. Now, sixty-five years after their escape, seven of Hakoah's female swim team athletes leave their respective homes across the globe and re-unite for the first time at their old Vienna swimming pool. The result is so incredibly touching that Boston Globe critic Wesley Morris wrote, "The images of them swimming together after all those years are beautiful and a little holy: They look like angels in the water."

Alternating between painstakingly researched historical footage and contemporary interviews with the women swimmers, Yaron Zilberman daringly re-connects the lives and memories of those who challenged the status quo and, for the occasion of his movie, bravely share their complex legacy of tolerance and integrity with future generations. "As these women tell their stories in a tone of wonderment," says New York Times film critic Stephen Holden, "Watermarks becomes more than a pointed footnote to the Holocaust. It emerges as a surprisingly encouraging reflection on the distance between youth and advanced age."

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Technical Info

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Color: Color and B&W