MJFF – Irena’s Vow
In occupied Poland, a former nurse risks her own life to shelter a dozen Jewish men and women from the Nazi war machine in this unforgettable tale of bravery and sacrifice. Set in 1939 Warsaw, when the Nazis invade Poland, nurse Irena Gut (Sophie Nélisse from MJFF 2014 film The Book Thief and the acclaimed television series Yellowjackets) is displaced and forced to work in support of the German war effort, eventually assigned to run the home of a Nazi commandant. Instead of following the path of least resistance and gambling on her status and ethnicity to keep her safe, she risks everything to save a dozen Jewish refugees from persecution and murder, sheltering them under her boss’s nose. Irena’s Vow is, at its heart, a story of simple moral clarity. It’s all anchored by a powerful performance from the empathetic Sophie Nélisse, who channels the alternating shock, disbelief, and horror of an innocent who is forced, over and over again, to negotiate an impossible situation — always racing to ensure not just her friends’ survival, but her own.