Inside Hana’s Suitcase

| December 3, 2011

Inside Hana’s Suitcase is the incredible story of a young girl named Hana and her brother George’s trek through the concentration camps during the holocaust, and of a woman’s journey to learn more about them.
When Fumiko Ishioka, the director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center in Japan, receives a suitcase in the mail that still contains some of its original items, she became fascinated with it. She puts it on display, and allows the children who come to the center to look at the objects and to hold them. They belonged to a girl named Hana Brady. Ishioka and the children become increasingly interested in this mysterious object and its original owner, and so begins a journey that changes the lives of all who are a part of it.
Hana was a victim of the holocaust, dying when she was only thirteen years old. Her brother, George, is a holocaust survivor who shares stories of him and Hana’s childhood, both the pleasant years and the torturous ones. During much of his commentary his face is filled with regret and reminiscence, but George has worked hard to look to the future and to become the man that he is sure his parents would be proud of.
The mysterious suitcase raises many questions, some of which are answered by Ishioka’s research and George’s stories, but some of which will never be known. The stories George, Ishioka, and the children share are personal. All of them came to know and love Hana on their own terms, and the details about her favorite songs, precious memories, and other things draw the viewer in and make them interested in Hana’s story, too.
It’s a humanizing story that makes one realize, much like the children do in the film, that hatred solves nothing; rather, it causes problems for both parties involved.
Some original footage from the holocaust is included, as well as authentic stills and photographs from George’s collection. There is also quite a bit of re-enacted footage of Hana and George as children. Both add a nice touch to the piece. The inclusion of Hana’s favorite song is also precious and works well with the film.
Bittersweet memories and humorous inserts make this heavy film slightly more tolerable, but the film is not about tolerance, it’s about remembering. Inside Hana’s Suitcase is not just another holocaust story. It’s a story that will tug at the heartstrings of even the most nonchalant individual and make them think a little harder about all the men, women, and children whose lives were stolen during that horrible era.

About the Author:

Caress is a Chicagoan who has a deep fascination with film. Her love for movies began as an undergraduate at Roosevelt University, where her teacher suggested she write a movie review. Caress' favorite genres include indie dramas, foreign films, experimental films, and psychological thrillers. When she's not watching movies, Caress enjoys writing, photography, travel, fashion and music.
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