Life Is Strange started as an attempt by a couple of friends to
trace their family history. Isaac Hertz and Sammy Grundwerg did
not set out to make a documentary. They just wanted to learn
something about their past. They both felt that despite the deluge
of material that has been produced about the Holocaust, there is
little available to define the Jewish culture that disappeared during
The filmmakers have always found themselves attracted to survivors
they met, not for the scars the carried, but for their personalities that were unlike any others they ever met. They were sure that it had to do with the pre- war culture that today is only accessible through
survivors of that period. So Hertz and Grundwerg decided to start talking to survivors on camera about their youth to try and capture
some of its unique qualities. They conducted 25 interviews over the course of two years with people around the world. Some were close friends of the filmmakers and some were famous people they read about. All shared unique childhood experiences and all offered a precious connection to the past.
Aided with independent camera work, newsreels, and original home movies, the movie is a tapestry of intimate conversations and rare footage. It takes us into the heart of pre-war Yiddish culture but it
also portrays the very universal experience of carefree childhood.
As Uri Orlev, a children’s book author and a Holocaust survivor, relates, “Children remember differently than adults do.”
LIFE IS STRANGE also documents the struggle that survivors
experience to retain their memory and find some connection to an intangible past. It portrays the way personal lives intersect within
great historical transformations, and it connects a great political upheaval with the truths revealed only in childhood memory.