Project Description


Directed by Francesca Melandri
2010, Italy
48’, Color, DVD Cam

Two things dominate Vera’s life: horses and the Second World War. A Jew, she fled from the Nazis in former Yugoslavia when she was 16 and ended up in Italy. She was the only member of her family to survive the war, and she now runs a stud farm singlehandedly. With great composure, Vera tells her story. Shots of this spirited little woman with a slightly hunched back accompany tales of her youth. About how crazy she was about horses as a young girl; about how nothing made her happier than the smell of horse manure; and about how Muslims, Jews and Serbians went to school together in Yugoslavia without a problem. “There was no hatred yet.” As we witness the complicated birth of a foal, we hear about the beginnings of the Jewish persecution, Vera’s flight to Italy, and the moment she heard about the existence of concentration camps for the first time. Visually, the film is dominated by images of the idyllic and safe world into which she has withdrawn. The hard work distracts her. “When I’m old, then I’ll be tired.” She seems happy among her horses, although she sometimes expresses doubt: “Why does one love them so much? Is it normal?” .

Direction and script: Francesca Melandri
Production manager: Raffaele Manzollino
Production: Tangram Film
Editing: Ilaria De Laurentis
Cinematography: Sabrina Varani
Sound: Giovanni Santonocito

With: Vera J. Martin

“Vera” was supported by Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo – National Cultural Interest

 IDFA – International Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, Competition for Mid-Length Documentary 2010 – In competition
Festival Bolzano Cinema/Bozner Filmtage 2011 – Out of competition
FULL FRAME – Full Frame International Documentary Film Festival, New Docs 2011 – In competition
PKF – Pitigliani Kolno’a Festival, Rome, 2011 – Out of competition
Umbria International Film Festival (Popoli e Religioni) 2012 – Best Documentary
Lampedusa In Festival, Migration and Memories, 2012 – Best Documentary
Zagreb Jewish Film Festival 2013 – In competition