Film review: Greenhorn

Posted on April 4, 2016


Greenhorn film

A Story of Friendship & a Boys Journey in the Aftermath of the Holocaust
Tom Whitus, Director
Starring Giorgio Poma, Leo Hojnowski, and Manny Lieberman
Based on the book Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2016
Run Time: 25 minutes

Two old friends reunite in Jerusalem to face the question that lingers between them after decades apart: “What about the box?”

We flash back in time to 1946, at a yeshiva (Jewish boys’ school) in Brooklyn. In tears, Rabbi Ehrlich announces that “20 extra boys” will be arriving from Poland. “Their families died in the concentration camps,” he explains.

The Holocaust was the systematic persecution and murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Many of the orphaned children of those who died in the concentration camps survived and were sent to America.

Unfazed by the horrors of war, the students gripe about more boys coming to their crowded school. “How are we going to squeeze more boys into rooms the size of closets?”

When Daniel shows up in their tiny dorm room, Aaron, Ruben, and Bernie chatter nervously about the skinny new kid who sits stoically and clutches a floral tin box. Even though Aaron is nicknamed Gravel Mouth because he stutters, he is talkative and kind to Daniel because his own parents also came from Poland.

The other boys give Daniel the nickname Greenhorn. As time goes on, Daniel settles into his new life and learns English. No matter where he goes, he never lets go of the floral tin box. The other boys become obsessed with the secret of the box. No matter how they tease and bully him, Daniel remains silent about its contents. Until one night the tin box falls on the floor while Daniel is sleeping and a gruesome secret gradually unfolds.

Leo Hojnowski is spot on as Aaron the Gravel Mouth, making use of the character’s stuttering habit to show his over-eagerness to make friends with Daniel. Giorgio Poma convincingly characterizes the sensitive and traumatized Daniel, overwhelmed with culture shock and clutching a grim secret. Manny Lieberman adds a touch of humor to his portrayal of Rabbi Ehrlich  who is tasked with describing the heartbreak caused by the Holocaust.

The film’s dark mystery necessarily reveals the tragedy and the lessons of the Holocaust. Yet at the same time Hojnowski’s and Poma’s heartfelt performances as Aaron and Daniel show the other side of the Greenhorn story about true friendship and redemption. ~ Copyright (c) 2016 by Peggy Tibbetts


best_shorts_award_winner1Holocaust Remembrance Day begins the evening of May 4, and ends the evening of May 5, 2016.

Greenhorn: A Story of Friendship in the Aftermath of the Holocaust
is now available on DVD.
Libraries and schools can purchase the DVD with public performance rights and show the film in classrooms.
Click here to order.

Greenhorn is also available on Amazon to individual viewers.

For more information visit:
Award winning film Greenhorn now on DVD
Greenhorn, the film project

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Posted in: book review