Writer/director Mark Rosenblatt’s short film, Ganef (Yiddish for thief), places the viewer in 1962 London. At the center of the story is Ruthie (Izabella Dziewanska). This young girl cheerily runs around her household, conceiving games to play with her housekeeper, Lynn (Sophie McShera). However, when Ruthie’s mother, Mrs. Hirth (Lydia Wilson), arrives at the front door with shopping bags, the triad of characters is formed, and a tale of past trauma is set in motion.
“Ruthie, on the other hand, sees Lynn stealing a household item.”
The filmmaker has crafted a story that juxtaposes what is seen with what is not. Mrs. Hirth does not want the maid to see what is contained in her shopping bags. According to her, if people do not know what you have, they are less likely to steal from you. Ruthie, on the other hand, sees Lynn stealing a household item. When we catch a glimpse of a tattoo on Mrs. Hirth’s forearm, it becomes evident that she survived the extermination camps of WWII.
Rosenblatt packs a lot of visual information into the slim runtime of about ten minutes. He allows the viewer to piece together the themes without explicitly spelling everything out. Ganef is ultimately a tale of trauma and how it leaves traces on people’s psyches. Rosenblatt helps us see that trauma in an authentic way.
"…Rosenblatt packs a lot of visual information into the slim runtime..."