Four Seasons Lodge, a documentary about a group of Holocaust survivors now in their 80s and 90s who’ve gathered at a Catskills bungalow colony every summer for the past 26 years, opens today in Manhattan. The film, critics say, is more Number Our Days than Number the Stars—as Variety puts it, “the Holocaust supplies the subtext rather than the text of the docu, which concerns the fragile present, as octogenarians dance to Cabaret showtunes or applaud blue jokes by entertainers almost as old as they are.” First-time director Andrew Jacobs, a journalist who first chronicled the group in a series of articles for the New York Times, who made the film with veteran documentary cinematographer Albert Maysles, focuses less on narrative or Holocaust testimony than on “the thick detail of life,” the Times says: “all the more shocking, then, is the almost casual revelation by the colony’s vice president that he was operated on by Josef Mengele, or the recollection by another resident of the exact time of day the Germans entered Lodz and hanged a Jew in public as a warning to the rest.” Filmcritic.com, however, dislikes the film for that same attention to the details of aging: it reminded the site’s reviewer “uncomfortably of the taint of death that surrounds most elderly Jewish gatherings, and how the documentary did capture the feeling of being trapped at your family’s holiday dinners.”

Four Seasons Lodge [Variety]
In the Catskills, Holocaust Survivors Forge a Bond [NYT]
Four Seasons Lodge [Filmcritic.com]