Alenka Maly, film director and actress from Linz, took her own intensive ‘conversational relationship’ with her grandmother as the starting point for the realisation of the European Oral History film project. The European Grandma Project has the tag-line ‘Grandmothers telling their versions of European history’, in 2015 the director launched a European-wide call. After finding eight like-minded filmmakers, from Israel, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Bulgaria, Russia, England, Turkey and Austria, the group created portraits of their grandmothers. These women, born in the 20s and early 30s of the last century, tell their filmmaking granddaughters about war, political upheavals, love, and everyday life in their time in Europe. Almost all the grandmothers are over ninety years old; they recall anecdotes, love stories, and terrible tragedies as they go about their everyday activities, have their hair done, or simply rest. All with captivating openness and subtle humour.
Alenka Maly and her colleagues have succeeded in capturing an authentic panorama of European history on film. The testimony of this group of women offers an insight into the dark chapters of European history of the 20th century. The film offering younger generations a chance to engage with this history from a new perspective.
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