DAVID BIANCULLI

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THE NUMBER ON GREAT-GRANDPA'S ARM
January 27, 2018  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 6:00 p.m. ET

 
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And Sheila Levins, the veteran HBO documentary chief who has presented and generated excellent, important documentaries for many decades now, has found a special way to both honor and exemplify the day, This new HBO documentary by Amy Schatz, just under 20 minutes long, is a full-family special combining animation with a simple, compelling narrative. A 90-year-old man named Jack is interviewed by his 10-year-old great-grandson, Elliott, about the elder man’s childhood in Poland, his wartime experiences in the Lodz ghetto and the Auschwitz concentration camp, and his postwar emigration to America. And as they talk, tasteful, visually accurate watercolor animation illustrates his memories. Sheila Nevins is scheduled to retire soon from HBO, and will do so as one of the TV executives who contributed most to her medium – in terms of not just quantity, but quality. Thanks for everything, Sheila – including The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.
 
 
 
 
 
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