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San Diego Jewish Film Festival preview: ‘Paint What You Remember’

By Norman Greene 

Norman Greene

SAN DIEGO–Some people are born with photographic memories, others with painterly gifts.  Artist Mayer Kirshenblatt is blessed with both skills.

In the gentle, 31 minute film, Paint What You Remember, viewers are offered a retrospect on this 94 year old’s memories of his hometown in Opatow, Poland through his paintings and his return to Opatow for an exhibition. The story of the town and its Jewish life are told by the painter and his daughter who convinced her then 70-something father to begin painting more than 50 years after he had left his hometown.   

Kirshenblatt’s memory is seemingly flawless and his charm very evident.  He easily engages current day Opatow residents with his remembrances of Jewish life in their community. 

This is not a great film, nor an award winner, but it is a gentle, true tale and a view of an unknown history.  There are no recriminations for the war years or those lost.  There is a warmth generated by the art, the memories and the ways in which the artist is welcomed back to Opatow.

It will be shown by the San Diego Jewish Film Festival at 6:45 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Clairemont Reading 14 theatres,  4665 Clairemont Drive, San Diego.

Greene is a freelance writer based in San Diego

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