Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Out of the Ashes (2003) R - 4½ Stars

Christine Lahti gives an Oscar winning performance in her role as Dr. Gisella Perl, a Jewish Hungarian gynaecologist, fighting to stay alive in the Auschwitz death camp of World War II. This movie is based on the true story of her life convincing her father she would become a doctor someday to being held captive by the Nazi's, along with her entire family, husband and son. They were separated as they entered the camp. She naively thinks the general will grant her wishes of seeing her family if she helps him organize the pregnant women to get aboard Red Cross trucks to be taken to the infirmary for treatment and better conditions fr their pregnancies. Instead she learns, they have been singled out and taken to their deaths, as they are in no condition for working. It's then she learns her family has also met that same fate.

Dr. Perl secretly preforms over 1,000 abortions in Auschwitz prison camp, helping save these women's lives. If found to be pregnant, they knew their fate and sought the doctors help. Dr. Perl, with the use of only her hand, preformed these abortions vowing to someday right her wrongs by helping bring new lives back into the Jewish faith. She did the best she could with what she had to work with to make live as painless as possible for these women until finally allied forces, freed the women.

Now in 1946, and in America, she has a very hard time convincing immigration she should be awarded American citizenship. Even though she had already passed all the medical exams to award her doctors credentials in America, she had to re-live her terrible ordeal and convince a panel of three men from immigration court, that she was not "collaborated" with the Nazis, just doing what she needed to do to survive.

Ardent Productions
Director: Joseph Sargent
Producer: Lee Levinson
I viewed 1/09

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