Those who want to remember the Holocaust deserve better than the very contrived “The Last Suit,” written and directed by Pablo Solarz, who obviously had good intentions. Still, given the power of anything attempting to grapple with that subject, one may be briefly moved when the protagonist finally reaches his goal after all the improbabilities in the screenplay.
Araham Bursztein is a Polish Jew living in Argentina. As played by Miguel Angel Solá, he is an annoyingly cantankerous old widower who is about to be placed in a home for the aged, when on his last night in his long-occupied home, unbeknownst to his two soon-frantic daughters, he runs off to head via Madrid on a journey to Lodz in Poland. He is also limping from a bad leg that doctors fear will have to be amputated if he doesn’t get proper attention.
His mission: During the era of the Holocaust a Christian boyhood friend saved his life by helping him to escape and gave him a suit in which to depart. He has long wanted to return to Poland to fulfill his promise of returning one day and he carries with him the suit in the title. First screenplay problem: Why he waited so long to return to see his savior if he felt so strongly is never explained.
Second problem: During his journey he is repeatedly asked about why he wants to go to Lodz. The only problem about his not logically giving an answer to inquirers is that we, the audience, must not learn of the reason until later in the film.
Another gimmick: He has had a rift with a daughter who lives in Madrid. Why? He broke off relations because unlike his other two fawning daughters, she said her actions spoke for themselves and she refused to grant his wish that she say “I love you?" If the statute of limitations had not run out centuries ago and if Shakespeare, author of “King Lear” were still alive, maybe he could sue.
Bursztein has an added problem—he doesn’t want to pass through his hated Germany in order to get to Poland. I won’t detail the obstacles that he encounters during his overall trip but ultimately a kind nurse who administers to him after he falls ill and is hospitalized agrees to take him to complete his journey to Lodz.
As one might expect, he finally meets his friend, now also elderly, and when they make contact, I’ll admit I had an emotional reaction despite all the manipulation that had gone before. Virtually anything to do with the Holocaust and those who saved Jews can have that effect. Reviewed September 21, 2018.