Sarah Jane Lapp

Happy are the Happy (Your Best Joke, Please) (1999) 16mm, , 18 min

Genre: Documentary, Experimental

Keywords: children / youth, comedy, ethnic / multicultural, history, landscape / architecture, music, polititcal / social activism, psychology & mental health

in collaboration with Jenny Perlin

Happy are the Happytraces a journey into humor, guided by the survivors of not-so-happy lives. How does one generation of survivors communicate with the next? Can humor function as a shared language for disparate communities of displaced people-specifically, a difficult diaspora of Bosnian, Jewish, and Romany refugees? And could you tell us your best joke, please? Of its participants and its viewers, this experimental, non-fiction film asks these questions and other relating to the matrix of memory, survival, and comic impulse of everyday life-in Prague and beyond.

"Happy are the Happy delicately explores the power of humor to heal in the face of tragedy. Softly lit in elegant black and white, survivors of the Holocaust and recent Baltic atrocities share the simple amusements that sustained them and the jokes that still keep them sane..." (Paul Malcolm / LA Weekly)

"Is there anything funny about war? Sarah Jane Lapp, a Minneapolis-born filmmaker who earned a Fulbright Fellowship at the prestigious FAMU in Prague, had the opportunity to interview survivors from Auschwitz and the siege of Sarajevo in her 1999 short "Happy Are the Happy (Your best joke, please)," and confirmed that the only humor to be found is in the form of bitter jokes about retained limbs, the relentless repetition of harsh daily lives, and such intermittent pastimes as collecting fleas. In a brief running time, Lapp succeeds - through interviews, innovative montage, and lingering shots of ace that have seen too much - to endow her survivors' tales with incredible dignity and heart..." (Caroline Palmer / Minneapolis City Pages )

Rental: $100

16mm Sale: $Please Inquire

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