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What to know: Outstanding production filled with history and artistic excellence.
CHIKA, THE DOG IN THE GHETTO is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 12-18
16 minutes
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This short animated film truly stands out as an outstanding production with history and art on its side. Based on a children's book, with an introduction by the author. Batsheva Dagan, it takes place in 1944. By German filmmaker Sandra Schissl, the story follows a little boy and his Jewish family living in a Jewish ghetto in an unnamed Polish city. The Jews are not allowed to own dogs, so the little boy has to give up his beloved dog is worried he won't ever see her again. The animation of this film is truly wonderful with darling characters that look somewhat like ragdolls, detailed backgrounds and sets. Intense scenes during the darkness of night with shadows of the police ominously lurking around every corner. The storyline accurately portrays life for Jews during this horrible time period with an intensity and suspense of not knowing what might happen next. It gives you insight into this horrible time in history and how critical it was for families to stick together. The neighbor who takes the dog is indicative of how non-Jews came to the aid of their Jewish neighbors to help in what way they could. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat and flows extremely well. The production quality is extraordinary and the educational value of this film makes it suitable for children ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. We give it 5 out of 5 stars and can't recommend it highly enough. Bravo for great animated filmmaking. Reviewed by Kelsey M. and Ranny L., KIDS FIRST!
Chika the dog and the five-year old Mikasch are the heroes of this story which is set in a Jewish ghetto in an unnamed Polish city. The little dog helps Mikasch to develop as a child despite the persecution of the Jews and the threats of the 2nd World War. During World War II it was forbidden for Jews to keep their pets. One day the official orders decreed that Jews have to deliver all dogs. Mikasch refuses to obey this command. His parents help him to find a solution to save Chika. Mikasch's father hides the dog outside the ghetto at a non-Jewish friends house. Then one day a soldier knocks on the door of the families apartment and delivers a command. The family has to gather with all other Jewish families to be deported. Father, mother and child do not obey, instead they hide in the cellar. Mikasch realizes how important it was to take Chika outside the ghetto. In the small hiding place Chika would have started to bark and that would have revealed the hideout of his family. With the belief to see Chika again one day, Mikasch overcomes the difficult times in the hideout without serious damage. At the (happy)-end Mikasch and Chika actually find each other once again. There is peace. Screened at more than 20 film festivals world wide.
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