Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr The Holocaust and its immense horror has been a cinematic subject for 70 years, to the point that, functionally, it is its own genre. As with any other genre, the Holocaust film genre has spawned a number of sub-genres. One of the more poignant of these is the one that deals with the aftermath, the post-1945 period. It asks, more or less, what happens now. More poetically, it is a sub-genre that is concerned with how people—the victims, the perpetrators, the next generation, the collaborators, the bystanders, the liberators and every other sort of person—deal with the indescribable rift that the Holocaust tore open in the very psyche of the so-called “modern, civilized” human. How, in other words, do we repair our destroyed humanity with full knowledge of Auschwitz? Obviously, this is an issue grappled with well beyond a handful of films. The Holocaust and our collective responses to it is foundational for the current world order. But films, with their ability to dramatize life and engender pathos, are a crucial contributor to our understanding. The Last Suit is the latest addition to this sub-genre and, while it is not as good as such standouts as last year’s 1945, it is still a worthwhile attempt to fathom the unfathomable. The Last Suit follows the odyssey—and it is extremely Homeric in both content and tone—of Abraham Bursztein (Miguel Ángel Solá), a Holocaust survivor and formidable patriarch who has spent the past 70 years living in Buenos Aires. When his daughters stage an intervention forcing him to sell his house, have his injured leg amputated and relocate to a nursing home, he decides it is time to flee the New World and return to his childhood home in Lodz, Poland. What ensues is classic (as in ancient Greece-level classic) road trip storytelling. Abraham encounters a number of colorful characters along the way who either help or hinder his progress as he flies to Madrid, gets robbed, takes the train to Paris, gets publically humiliated, makes it to Warsaw, has a medical setback and is finally able to knock on the door of his family’s historical home in Lodz. The Last Suit has too many events that are just too contrived solely for the convenience of the plot structure to be truly engaging until the final minutes, once Abraham’s journey is complete. In particular, the ills that befall Abraham in Madrid challenge credulity and stack up just a bit too neatly. Additionally, the fact that most of the Europeans Abraham comes across seem not to be able to connect an octogenarian man with a Jewish name and a single-minded mission of getting to Poland with the Holocaust is just silly; he is obviously a Holocaust survivor. But these script failures should not detract from The Last Suit’s ability to shed light on the challenges that post-1945 people have faced when it comes to responding to the Holocaust. It is, after all, an aftermath film, and this is where it really shines. Abraham is, understandably, not ready to forgive. In fact, he refuses to even say the word “Poland” and makes a scene at a Parisian train station about the fact that he must pass through Germany to reach Warsaw. He takes his vitriol a bit far, however, when he verbally assaults a women trying to help him upon finding out she is German; sure, she is the offspring of people who, at the very least, collaborated with Nazi rule, but she is also two generations removed from those who carried out the exterminations. Abraham does come around, in part because the German woman does something of a Willy Brandt impersonation, and he seems to start to deal with the trauma of the Holocaust with something of an open mind. While The Last Suit is far from the most profound post-1945 Holocaust film, and in spite of Abraham being no Emmanuel Levinas when it comes to turning the Holocaust into a reflection on what it means to be human, the film does have some pathos. The Last Suit ultimately overcomes its over-wrought, straight-outta-900BCE-script to offer up something effecting and enjoyable.