Fioretta (2023) Film Review |



You have probably heard of Randy Schoenberg  in the past. He’s a key figure of the world of genealogy, and he’s the go-to guy when it comes to legal situations involving protecting/returning items of the past. All those valuable items stoles by the Nazis during the Holocaust are someplace, and Schoenberg is the attorney who will help you find them. His inspiration comes of course from growing up in a Jewish household, but it also comes from his natural passion of never letting the past die. After all, it’s extremely important for him and the generations to come.

In the feature documentary Fioretta, Schoenberg goes on a very personal quest. Sure, he’s known around the world because of his feats and a movie made about him  (Woman in Gold, starring Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren), so he’s got a few connections. In the film, Schoenberg travels around the world to get a broader look of his past. But not only a couple of centuries. Schoenberg is ambitious, and he aims to go as far back as he can.

Many would deem this personal mission completely unnecessary. And the film doesn’t even try to justify it. We’re way past that. And all complaints you may have with this beautiful, yet emotionally monochromatic, will be solved in the end. Why? Fioretta isn’t exactly about a historian trying to answer some personal questions, or come up great works of art for personal collection. It’s the reflection of the ultimate bonding act between a father and son. At least, it’s what I got from its final scene and shot.

Schoenberg doesn’t attempt to do this by himself. He could, but then what would be the point if all of this would vanish when the next generation comes? Instead, he decides to make Joey, his 18-year-old son an accomplice in the mission. At first, Joey feels alien to his father’s unique vision, but Fioretta documents his inevitable fall down the rabbit hole. From his perspective, we the audience experience the discovery his father naturally takes for granted because he imagines what he would find.

Imagine discovering where you came from. Schoenberg is the grandson of the famous music composer that the Nazi party drove out of Austria in 1933, but the genealogist doesn’t stop there. Jewish tradition is at the core of a man’struggle in trying to rebuild his past from the remains of war. It’s how he faces the improbable rejection by some authorities to investigate what’s rightfully his objective. However, this doesn’t stop him from seeking the truth by meeting new people and possible relatives that will help the tree get bigger.

Time is also a factor in Schoenberg’s quest. In Fioretta we become witness to invaluable documents that help the man achieve his vision. But then again, how can such film connect with audiences? In the end, it’s possibly not even important. This is a very personal documentary made by Matthew Mishory, the director of Who Are the Marcuses?, who this time uses the same rich visual style to shoot an emotional journey of father-and-son. History is valuable, but the Schoenberg legacy just got much more interesting and substantial.

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Federico Furzan

Film critic. Lover of all things horror. Member of the OFCS. RT Approved Critic.

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