Four Seasons Lodge

Monday, October 24 th, 2016 at 00:10 am 
Four Seasons Lodge

Fascinated by the group of aging Holocaust survivors who spend their summers together at the Four Seasons Lodge in the Catskill Mountains, filmmaker Andrew Jacobs documents their collective memories, close friendships, and rich traditions at a time when their favorite retreat hovers in an uncertain state of flux. Every year since 1979, this small group of German and Polish Jews has gathered at the Four Seasons to reminisce about their childhoods and find comfort in one another’s company. Like old friends, they often bicker and argue, but it generally isn’t anything that lodge president Carl can’t resolve with some friendly advice. This year, the regular vacationers at the Four Seasons hopelessly split between those who want to see the resort sold, and those who hope to see it stay intact. But this particular group has been through so much together that whatever may come of the Four Seasons, their familial bonds will remain as strong as they ever were.

Four Seasons Lodge is a bit of a misleading title I guess. I expected it to be a musical about Christmas or something. It’s not. It’s kind of a touching documentary that combines two things somewhat uneasily. Four Seasons Lodge is a Catskills bungalow community with Holocaust survivors and it’s not clear how it began, whether they all got together and bought the land or they just all got together. I would say that this confusion is a major problem in the documentary. It turns out that we enter the documentry with the Four Seasons Lodge being sold. After, there’s somewhat of a mutiny and people decide that they don’t want it to be sold. Then we find the back story, which is that all these people are Holocaust survivors. They go into the stories, the horrible grim war stories that we’ve sort of come to expect around the Holocaust. But the problem is if they made it just here’s a group of people who share the Holocaust in common, so they have a particularly strong bond and they changed their mind about when it came down to sort of having to break up the group, that they decided they couldn’t do it, would have been a much more interesting story than trying to combine the two together. It’s interesting but as social document it probably gets three stars. As an interesting film to watch, it’s too scattered, so it gets one. So I’d give it two stars.

Joy Meter