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Film / Butterflies Do Not Live Here

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Butterflies Do Not Live Here (Motýli tady nezijí) is a documentary short film (14 minutes) directed by Miro Bernat.

It is a documentary about the Theresienstadt Ghetto, a Nazi concentration camp in what is now The Czech Republic. Specifically, the film dwells on some 4,000 drawings made by Jewish children that were imprisoned in Theresienstadt. As a narrator recounts the life of children in a concentration camp, the drawings, all of which are authentic to Theresienstadt, are shown onscreen. The children's art includes pictures of their daily play, and the lives they led before they were deported. The drawings also depict the ghastly nature of life in Theresienstadt, with images of funerals, executions, and cattle cars.

Almost all of the children who left behind drawings in Theresienstadt were sent to death camps and gassed.

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Tropes:

  • Abandoned Area: The drawings are accompanied by live-action footage of the Theresienstadt ghetto, now abandoned.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: One child's drawing is a picture of "the cook", as a little girl's narration talks of how the cook wouldn't give out food and made her grandpa eat spoiled bread. "The cook" is actually the anthropomorphization of hunger.
  • Documentary: Of the experiences of children in Theresienstadt concentration camp.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Just one year after this trope is believed to have been invented in documentary short City of Gold, it is used in this film, as the camera pans over various children's drawings.
  • Narrator: A narrator gives rather philosophic commentary about the children's drawings, about how they played and drew like all children do, how they looked outside the walls of Theresienstadt and dreamed of escape.
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  • P.O.V. Cam: A live-action shot of train tracks rolling under the camera's lens simulates children being taken to Theresienstadt in cattle cars.
  • Title Drop: The title comes from the poem "The Butterfly" by Pavel Friedmann, later killed in Auschwitz.
    "Butterflies don't live here anymore/in the ghetto."
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