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Bruxelles: Kichka: Life Is a Cartoon / Film Screening
March 15, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
KICHKA: LIFE IS A CARTOON:
a film about the impact of the Shoah on next generations
Documentary premiere in Brussels – March 15, 2018 at 18:00
At the invitation of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgium, on 15th March the premiere of an exceptional film will take place in Brussels, at the famous historical Cinéma Galeries. The documentary Kichka: Life Is a Cartoon will be shown in public for the first time. This German-Polish co-production is focused on the relationship between a son and his father – a victim of and witness to the Holocaust. The film shows the impact of the Shoah on a family. In spite of, or perhaps or precisely due to this harrowing theme, the work is full of lightness, affection and hope.
Michel Kichka (born 1954 in Seraing/Liège) is a renowned cartoonist and illustrator living in Jerusalem. In his graphic novel Second Generation, he addresses the impact that the wartime trauma suffered by his father, the Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka (born 1926 in Brussels), had on him and his siblings. The publication is a record of the family embarking on a long journey through the past – and into the future. The film follows Kichka father and son during two intensive years in Israel, Belgium and France with many interlocutors, including Jean Plantureux aka Plantu, as well as Beate and Serge Klarsfeld.
Directed by: Delfina Jałowik; Camera, Editing: Adam Uryniak; Producer: Jürgen Kaumkötter.
The premiere of Kichka: Life Is a Cartoon has been made possible by the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Germany in Belgium. The film was realised by the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow and by the Center for Persecuted Arts (supported by the City of Solingen and part of the LVR-Network Cultural Heritage). Shooting on international locations has been part-funded by the Polish Institutes in Tel Aviv, Paris, and Düsseldorf, as well as Eugen Scalabrin company from Solingen.
About the concept, background and filming
Kichka: Life Is a Cartoon is a film about the relationship between a son and his father, the latter a victim of and witness to the Holocaust. It shows that such a trauma determines the psychology of all the members of a family. In spite of, or perhaps indeed due to the distressing theme, the film is full of lightness, affection and hope.
Henri Kichka was born in Brussels in 1926. In 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo, together with his parents and two sisters. He spent three years imprisoned in various concentration camps. His mother and sisters were murdered. His father died on the way to Buchenwald, from which Henri was liberated in 1945. After the war, Henri Kichka returned to Brussels and married. He had four children: Hannah, Michel, Iréne and Charly.
His son Michel Kichka was born in Seraing/ Liège in 1954. At the age of 20, he emigrated to Israel, started his family and embarked on a career as cartoonist. In 2012 he published the graphic novel Second Generation, devoted to Michel’s younger brother, who committed suicide. The main theme, however, is the relationship between the son and the father, who had been a victim of and witness to the Holocaust. The book shows that such a trauma determines the psychology of all the members of a family.
The Center for Persecuted Arts in Solingen and the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow have presented Michel Kichka´s drawings in several exhibitions, including in the German Bundestag in Berlin (2015). Now both museums have worked together on the production of the present documentary about the Kichkas, based on the graphic novel Second Generation.
In one of the most intense moments of the film, father and son visit the house where Henri Kichka was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. The 63-year-old Michel has never been there before, the 91-year-old Henri avoids this place which for him is filled with the worst memories of the moment that was to change his life horrifically and irrevocably. This scene is featured on the poster of the film.
Kichka reveals the dramatic potential of the cartoon as a form of art, and it is only through art that father and son are finally able to communicate. Indeed, the film transcends the confines of a graphic novel, illustrating how both Kichkas recapitulate the family history, talking about the life of the father as a witness; finally, they have overcome the speechlessness.
Michel Kichka discusses the responsibilities of the second generation with Beate and Serge Klarsfeld. In conversation with Jean ‘Plantu’ Plantureux, the cartoonist of Le Monde and the founder of Cartooning for Peace, the film departs from the subject of the Shoah, broadening out into political caricature and comic art per se.