Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘How Saba Kept Singing’

Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘How Saba Kept Singing’

Sometimes life just demands a song…

From director Sara Taskler and executive producers Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton; this film is a beautiful story of the power of determination.

Following its subject; one Ninety-four-year-old David Wisnia we quickly learn how he never told his family about how he survived his time at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the war.  They knew that his singing for the SS guards greatly changed his fate but until now never knew that it was a love affair with another prisoner that gave him the will to live, promising to find each other if they survived.  While fate and the war intervened, this story never left David and on the 70’s anniversary of the camp’s liberation this story comes to light.  With his grandson by his side, David reunites with Helen; the talent artist whose special privileges in the camp not only kept David alive but countless others as well.

At the end of the day, this film is a not only a testament to the power of art and how it can keep people going but to the will power of the human spirit as a whole.

David Wisnia makes for a compelling and vibrant subject as he recounts his time in the camp and his ordeals along the way with vivid recollection and detail.  Taskler allows her subject room to tell his story and the animated recreations are terribly effective in getting us invested in his life.

This was simply an important story to tell not just cause its life affirming and will warm the cockles of your heart, but it’s kind of bad ass too.  You have to fight for life, for love and those things that carry us through it all, like the music and the songs that never left David’s heart.


This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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