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Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival 2015

Under Height Limits

1% of the world population is born with a growth deficiency as a result of a genetic condition. They are called 'dwarves' and they live in our world, meaning a universe standardized based on the height limits we consider to be 'normal'. Since this is how it is, they are forced to adapt. The plastic chair must always be around, in their own kitchen, as well as at the supermarket; cars and bicycles must be adjusted, so they can reach the pedals. Some are saddened by their condition, others retreat in the company of animals because in the human society they are almost always exposed to curious glances or unpleasant remarks. They long for a 'normal' life. They throw parties and prefer the company of their own kind, this is what we learn from the documentary For Ever Little.

Dwarves have attracted human sympathy since the dawn of time. In classic fairytales, dwarves are the most likeable characters among those who are 'different' from birth. However, in real life, the exploitation of dwarves in theatre and circus shows is a long and very little known story, one that continues to this day. 

The film Little people big dreams presents a huge amusement park in present-day China, created after the representative Disneyland; the thing that distinguishes the two is that this is Dwarvesland, not Walt Disney territory, where all the entertainers are dwarves. The documentary follows their life backstage and presents touching portraits. Most of them are confronted with the same dilemma: should they quit a job exploiting them and exposing them on a daily basis to the hurtful curiosity of tourists or should they stay for the sake of the team and the pleasure of being part of a community?

The third dwarf story in this programme belongs to the realm of fantasy. It is the story of Ovitz family from Maramures, evoked in the film Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz.  Before World War II, the seven dwarf brothers, talented singers and performers, were on tours in Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia with their company, Liliput. During the Nazi occupation, it seemed that their fate was sealed. They were dwarves and, above all, they were also Jews. They were deported to Auschwitz, where they escaped the gas chamber only because doctor Mengele took interest in them, adding them to his collection of human guinea pigs and subjected them to all kinds of experiments. Their life in the camp and after their discharge, up to the point when they settled in Israel at the end of the 1940s, is truly an odyssey. The story of the Ovitz brothers is narrated by the actor Warwick Davies, himself a dwarf, which did not stand in the way of his enviable career on the big screen. He believes that by accepting the shortcomings and the talents with which you are born and by striving to cultivate the latter, things become clear in your life.

If I could live life again, I’d still be short” - Warwick Davies said in an interview.

 

For Ever Little by Barbara Den Uyl                 Friday 09.10.2015 16:00, Thalia

Little people big dreams by CK Mak   Friday 09.10.2015 22:00, Astra Film Cinema

Sunday 11.10.2015 16:00, Aula Magna

Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz by Ursula Macfarlane            Friday 09.10.2015 19:00, Thalia

Saturday 10.10.2015 20:00, Studio