The Maelstrom: A Family Chronicle

Vârtejul: o cronică de familie

93 films in 19 categories
Péter Forgács
Hungary, Netherlands
60 Min.

Photo Film


Ian Buruma's Landmark Documentaries




Romanian, English


Lumen Film

Original Title

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The Maelstrom: A Family Chronicle


• 19 March, 20:30, Cinema Elvire Popesco

The film will be screened in the presence of: Péter Forgács, Ian Buruma

Péter Forgács
Péter Forgács, born in 1950, is a media artist and independent filmmaker based in Budapest, whose works have been exhibited worldwide. Since 978 he has made more than thirty films. In 1983, Forgács established the Private Photo and Flm Archives Foundation (PPFA) in Budapest, which hosts a unique collection of amateur footage. He has received numerous international festival awards in Budapest, Lisbon, Marseille, San Francisco and Berlin, where he  won Prix Europe for "Free Fall".
Ian Buruma
Ian Buruma (b. December 28, 1951, the Hague) is an award-winning journalist, historian and writer, as well as a professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College.  Nephew of British filmmaker John Schlesinger, he was educated in Holland and Japan, where he studied Chinese literature and Japanese cinema. In the 1980s, he worked as a journalist, and spent much of his early writing career traveling and reporting from all over Asia. Buruma now writes about a broad range of political and cultural subjects for major publications, most frequently for the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Corriere della Sera, and NRC Handelsblad. He is the author of more than a dozen books and also the recipient of Holland's prestigious Erasmus Prize.


In “The Maelstrom”, Péter Forgács depicts the everyday life of a family of Dutch Jews, which was almost completely shattered during the Nazi Holocaust of World War II. Using the video diary kept in the ‘30s and ‘40s by Max Peereboom, one of the family members, as a starting point, the film includes sequential moments of happiness and of relaxation that are exclusively explained or introduced with the support of inserts and recomposed sounds, rendering the level of dramatic tension non-existent from a visual perspective. Tibor Szemzõ’s music, based on jazz rhythms, has the lightheartedness of Max Peereboom’s images, while at the same time being interspersed with more somber echoes, meant to foreshadow the tragic destiny of this group of people who didn’t seem to grasp — not even on the eve of their departure to the concentration camps of Auschwitz — what was soon to happen to them. Perhaps the most stirring aspect of the documentary is the analogy it establishes with the everyday life of another family, that of Reichskomissar Arthur Seyss-Inquart, in charge of implementing Nazi policies in the German occupied Dutch territory. By all accounts, there hardly seem to be any differences separating the daily existence of the two families, and yet, without ever having met or crossed paths, one of them will have a substantial role to play in the other’s destruction. (Andrei Rus)

awards and festivals

Out Of That Darkness International Film Competition Grand Prize, London 2000

Jerusalem International Film Festival 1999 - Jewish Experience Prize for the Best Documentary

Tickets: Eventbook
Logistic partner: DHL
Digital Partner: Canopy
Monitoring partner: mediaTRUST
The festival was created in 2008 by the: Czech Centre Bucharest