How do you survive in the most dehumanizing conditions possible -- a place where your very identity marks you for death? The answer for a number of prisoners held in Nazi concentration camps was to somehow create art in the midst of the horror that was the Holocaust. The new documentary "Because I Was a Painter," from director Christophe Cognet, explores drawings and paintings made surreptitiously by inmates in the death camps. The film opens April 24th at Lincoln Plaza in New York.
Click here to watch the trailer
Publicist Sasha Berman provided additional information about the film: "In 1945, when the Allies liberated the concentration camps, they discovered thousands of secretly created artworks. These drawings, hidden from the Nazis, offer an unparalleled understanding of life in the camps. Featuring interviews with surviving artists, curators, as well as recently uncovered evidence, this fascinating documentary considers the ability of art to capture, reflect and survive under unimaginable conditions.
BECAUSE I WAS A PAINTER explores a wide range of perspectives, from an artist who grapples with finding beauty in paintings of corpses to Treblinka survivor Samuel Willenberg who believes that the artworks can be nothing but inherently devoid of beauty. In addition to works intended as art, the film contemplates the role of alternative relics such as portraits of Romani victims killed by infamous Nazi physician Josef Mengele and paintings that were recreated years later because originals were lost or destroyed."
Matt Carey has written and produced multiple documentaries for CNN and contributed to CNN.com, TheWrap and Documentary magazine. He is based in Los Angeles