Yellow Starred Courtyards

In 1944, the 7th district of Budapest was transformed into a Jewish ghetto. It was a walled-off district where Jews were forced out of their home and crammed into Yellow Starred Buildings before being deported to concentration camps and forced labor camps. By the time the ghetto was liberated on January 16, 1945 - nearly 50% of the city's Jewish population had died during the Holocaust. When the surviving victims returned, the DEGOB transcribed testimonies of their experience.

This short film merges readings of testimonies from the past with observational images of the present taken inside former Yellow Starred Buildings, blurring the line between where history ends and the present day begins.

Their haunting historical accounts are read by people from Iran, Brazil, Indonesia, Georgia, and Ghana as a way to pay a global tribute to the voices of the past.

  • Christina Agatha Zachariades
    Director
    Lavandaria Publica
  • Docnomads
    Producer
  • Alexander Rodriguez
    Composer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 7, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    Hungary
  • Country of Filming:
    Hungary
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Christina Agatha Zachariades

Christina Agatha Zachariades is a Greek American documentary filmmaker and researcher currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Her first short film, Public Laundry, has been screened in International Film Festivals in Europe, Africa, and India.

Christina holds a degree from the University of Texas where she studied business as well as art, film, and philosophy. She recently received her second Master of Arts degree in Documentary Film Directing from the European film school, DocNomads, where she graduated with distinction.

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Director Statement

Yellow Starred Courtyards began while I was studying documentary film in Hungary. I was living in an apartment in the 7th district of Budapest which was formally part of the Jewish ghetto.

The building was visually unlike any building I had ever lived in before. Incredibly high ceilings, majestic windows, an internal courtyard - aged and worn with time. I couldn't help but wonder about its past, and the lives of others that had once lived there.

I began researching the building and discovered a collection of over 5,000 testimonies of Hungarian Jews the DEGOB collected when survivors returned from concentration camps. With their experience still fresh in mind, those testimonies described, in great detail, the atrocities that had taken place in 1944 when the district had been transformed into the Jewish ghetto. Many accounts had specific locations of where those traumas took place.

Eventually, I found myself in those very courtyards for long periods, reading the testimonies, feeling the scars of the buildings, and the absence of all those lives that had been taken. It became a meditation on the past and present moment.

When I tried to describe this experience to others, words escaped me. So I embarked on bringing this experience into a visual form as a small way of paying tribute to their plight.