Reviews of Mary Kocol's My Father's Story

"Clever and lively… an exuberant film"

- Michael Janusonis, The Providence Journal

My Father's Story is a captivating and inventive collage animation in which a truly gripping personal history is revealed. Mary Kocol's work brings a commendably individual perspective on the Holocaust that is too seldom found in run of the mill documentaries.

- John Columbus, Director of the Black Maria Film Festival

My Father's Story is a stirring 11-minute photo-animation biography of her Polish dad, who was forced into labor by the Germans during World War II. It’s certainly illuminating to see Nazi oppression through Polish Catholic eyes, and especially as the experiences occurred to a Christian who never lost sight of the Holocaust. ‘My story is a small story,’ he generously tells his daughter. ‘The real story is the six million Jews who were killed’."

-Gerry Perry, film critic, The Boston Phoenix

"Mary Kocol has been entering her work in the Ann Arbor Film Festival for a number of years. Her films are always a treasure to include in the festival programs: they’re always in unique style and a slice-of-life glimpse into the filmmaker’s background."

-Vicki Honeyman, Director Ann Arbor Film Festival, the oldest experimental film festival in the United States.


My Father's Story is an intriguing mix of memory, kitsch & craft....Kocol takes faded family photographs and unfolds them like mosacis.....It conveys the tradgedy of Nazi war camps and the almost unspeakable grief of exile.....There's something truely original about My Father's Story, the film is a visual collage, what cuts of a peasant scene, pre War Polish stamps, the work permit the Nazis issued Romuald Kocol. Many American families have similar artifacts, sacred remnants from a distant land or life....yet for most families, these objects lie mute, Mary Kocol makes hers speak."

-Ken Shulman, Film Critic, WBUR "Morning Edition" March 4, 1999


"The inherent challenge in the creation of any interview-style documentary film is twofold. The story itself, and the way in which it's told, should be unique and interesting, and the visuals need to be both informative and relevant. My Father's Story, by Mary Kocol, makes great strides toward these two goals. The story that of a Polish, presumably Catholic, boy coming-of-age in Poland before and during World War II is interesting, especially in reminding us that non-Jewish Poles also suffered in WWII (Kocol's father was forced to work in first a German sugar factory, and later a battery factory). Her use of her father's Nazi-issued work permit and metal "P" tag (for "Polish") as central images of the film is powerful, especially since we see that he still has in his possession these icons of Nazi Germany's control and efficiency. And his recollections of a lifelong separation from his family, and of being shot by the Germans during his rescue by American troops, bring to life the personal losses and hardship that occurred in WWII.

My Father's Story is told visually through photo-animation mostly, a process in which photographs, having been cut up, are pieced back together on screen; a process that is, in its disjointed manner, a metaphor for the act of piecing together a personal history from a series of memories which themselves are often sketchy and half-remembered.

My Father's Story is visually beautiful."

- Gentry Menzel, October 1998

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