More than 70 years after the Holocaust, there remain many uncommon or under-told stories of the era to be shared on film — and the docudrama “The Invisibles” is the latest example. Although this movie’s unusual mix of first-person interviews, archival footage, voiceover narration and dramatic reenactments is a bit awkward, it still makes for a gripping, involving and affecting experience.
Director Claus Räfle (he co-wrote with Alejandra López) employs a parallel narrative to recount the harrowing tales of four of the 1,700 Berlin Jews who survived the Holocaust by hiding in plain sight, often in safe houses provided by defiant non-Jews.
These actual “invisibles,” all of whom weigh in for Räfle’s cameras (two have since died), include Hanni Lévy (played in the 1940s-set dramatic segments by Alice Dwyer) who, at 17, became a blonde and concealed herself in movie theaters; Cioma Schönhaus (Max Mauff), a graphic artist who went underground forging passports; Eugen Friede (Aaron Altaras), who fell for the daughter of his secret hosts and later joined a resistance group; and Ruth Arndt (Ruby O. Fee), who posed as a war widow and worked as a maid to a Nazi officer.
Their stories are tense and powerful as they recall fear, poverty, hunger and desperation plus the immense courage and skill it took to stay alive against all odds.
In German with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Royal Theater, West Los Angeles; Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino