Hot Docs Review: 'All Her Dying Lovers' Tells the Haunting Story of a Unique Form of Nazi Resistance Directed by Anna Benner and Eluned Zoe Aiano
Published Jun 10, 2020Short film All Her Dying Lovers tells the story of an unnamed Czech nurse who put up a unique but tragic form of resistance against Nazi occupiers during WWII — but more than anything, it's a study in the dissemination of myth.
Told through various voices of the citizens of modern-day Czech Republic, the short depicts in beautiful animation and sensual sound the tale of a nurse who contracted an STI after being raped, and who then got the idea to militarize it against Nazi occupiers. The animation is delicate and slight, but beautiful. While the storytellers' voices narrate and sensationalize the nurse's actions, relating them in gossiping tones as would have surrounded the nurse in her time, the pictures depict her sadness, resolve, and also the mundanity that would have surrounded her.
Punctuated by the tellers' biases, alarm, disappointment in and/or concern for the nurse's fate, the six-minute short depicts how one story, when retold again and again, can morph to serve the teller's purpose, all while maintaining its core narrative. It can become a cautionary tale or the tale of a martyr, containing salvation or condemnation. All Her Dying Lovers shows us the mutability and passing down of a story in real time, ultimately demonstrating the construction of meaning.
It's a moving short film that will stick with you long after you've seen it, lingering in your mind as it has been for years in the minds of the citizens of the Czech Republic. Maybe you'll tell your friend about it.
Hot Docs Film Festival has moved online for its 2020 edition. Buy tickets over at the festival's website.