The Trailer for Lena Dunham and Stephen Fry's New Holocaust Movie Is Here – Kveller
Skip to Content Skip to Footer


The Trailer for Lena Dunham and Stephen Fry’s New Holocaust Movie Is Here

In "Treasure," a father and daughter confront their family history during an emotional and funny journey to Poland.

Stephen Fry and Lena Dunham in TREASURE Courtesy Bleecker Street1200

Courtesy Bleecker Street

The first trailer is out for the movie “Treasure,” starring Lena Dunham and Stephen Fry as a father-daughter duo who go on a trip to Poland to trace back their family’s roots, and it looks oh-so-winning.

The movie is based on the 1999 novel “Too Many Men” by author Lily Brett, and was directed by German filmmaker Julia von Heinz, who was given Brett’s book by her mother, who, like Brett, was the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. It premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival in February of this year. In the film, which takes place in 1991, Dunham plays Ruth, an American music journalist, who, along with her father, Edek (Fry), a Holocaust survivor, visits his old home. “While Ruth is eager to make sense of her family’s past, Edek embarks on the trip with his own agenda,” an earlier press release shared.

In a truly charming new trailer, we meet Ruth and Edek and get a feel for their special relationship — for Ruth, it’s a mix of exasperation and deep love; for Edek, he’s torn between his own independent vision and his desire to please his daughter, or at least make her smile.

Edek keeps derailing the trip — he disappears at the New York airport to go to McDonalds, and finds a taxi driver who takes them to sites that aren’t really historical — including an old wall which he says is the Warsaw Ghetto wall. “Ruthie, a wall is a wall,” Edek explains. It’s not clear whether Edek wants to face his past at all.

“What Jew goes to Poland as a tourist?” Edek asks Ruth disapprovingly in the trailer.

“You and mom never talked about the past, so I wanted to see where you grew up,” Ruth responds.

Fry, a veteran comedian, seems to bring his comic sensibilities to the film, in which he basically does a stand-up show for his daughter’s benefit. “The bed is so lumpy. It’s good for the sex, not for the sleep,” he says about their sleeping arrangements at the Polish hotel. Yet there’s also a deep emotional weight to his performance, as he goes to his old home and sees the people living there using his family’s old teapot.

“This property doesn’t belong to you,” the Polish family at his new home yells at him as he rushes out of the home, away from his family heirloom.

“Jews were murdered when they went to their old houses,” he shares with urgent distress.

“The teapot is yours, which means it’s important,” Ruth tells her father, but Edek, who knows you need to relinquish things to survive, admonishes her with, “You have none of the common sense.”

The rapport between Fry and Dunham in the trailer is pretty magical, as their characters find each other and also deal with the loss of Ruth’s mother and Edek’s wife.

Brett’s book is a work of fiction, and it even features the ghost of Rudolf Hoss (we don’t know if this movie is as haunted as the book), but it also very much draws from her own life story. Brett was born in a displaced person camp after the war. Her parents, Max and Rose, were from Lodz, Poland, and survived most of the war in the city’s ghetto, where they married. They both survived Auschwitz separately and managed to reunite many months after the war ended. The family eventually made it to Australia, where Brett grew up, and where she, like Ruth’s character in the movie, became a successful journalist.

Here is a photo of Lily and her father, Max, who passed away in 2018:

In the movie, which was filmed in Lodz, Gera, Halle and Berlin, Ruth and Edek also visit Auschwitz.

“Girls” creator Dunham recently discovered, in an episode of “Finding Your Roots,” that she herself has family history that connects her directly to the Holocaust. Her great-great-grandmother Regina, who immigrated to the U.S. from Europe, left behind at least 11 brothers and sisters in Europe, and some of those relatives, including Regina’s brother’s daughter, was murdered by the Nazis.

“It’s an incredibly painful thing to think about people with whom I share probably not just DNA, but features and emotional responses and an approach to life — those people being placed in this situation and having their lives extinguished this way,” Dunham says in the episode. “There’s not a way to reckon with it. It’s too big and the whole act is too vast, but to see a personal connection to it literalizes it in a way that’s very, very powerful.”

As for Fry, he too has relatives who perished in the Holocaust, including some who were sent to Auschwitz. His Jewish maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary to the UK before the Second World War. Known for his philanthropic work, Fry visited Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky back in September, and recently spoke out about his Jewish background in a Christmas-time British PSA about antisemitism. In it, the actor and comedian shared that while he faced strife and challenges for his identity as a gay man, “One truth about myself, however, that I never thought for one single second would ever be an issue about which I had any cause to worry in this country, was that I’m a Jew.”

The actor shared that according to a DNA test, he is 52% Jewish. He said that he knows his Jewish identity may surprise some who think of him as “quintessentially English.”

“I don’t really ‘identify as Jewish’ any more than I ‘identify as English’ or British,” he confessed.

But he refuses to let antisemites define who he is. “I accept and claim the identity with pride, I am Stephen Fry, and I am a Jew. The great Irish thinker and writer Conor Cruise O’Brien once said that ‘antisemitism is a light sleeper,'” he continued. “Well, it seems to have woken up of late. The horrendous events of October the 7th and the Israeli response, seem to have stirred up this ancient hatred. It’s agonizing to see all the violence and destruction that’s unfolding, and the terrible loss of life on both sides brings me an overwhelming sadness and heartache. But whatever our opinions on what is happening, there can be no excuse for the behavior of some of our citizens.”

Fry went on to describe the increase in antisemitic incidents since October 7. “There have been 50 separate reported incidents of antisemitism every single day in London alone, an increase of 1350% according to the Metropolitan Police.”

“My Jewish grandparents loved Britain, believing that Jews were more welcome here than in most countries,” he divulged. “I am glad they aren’t alive now to read newspaper stories that would have reminded them of the 1930s Europe that they left. They believed Britishness meant being fair and decent, but what can be more unfair or indecent than race hatred, whether antisemitism, Islamophobia or any kind?”

“The simple truth that we are all brothers and sisters? It’s naive, but it’s as good a message as any other,” his message went on. “At this time in the face of the greatest rise in anti-Jewish racism since records began, Jews should stand upright and proud in who they are. And so should you, whatever your genetic makeup.”

“Standing upright means speaking up and calling out venomous slurs and hateful abuse wherever you encounter them. Knowing and loving this country as I do, I don’t believe that most Britons are OK living in a society that judges hatreds of Jews to be the one acceptable form of racism. So speak up, stand with us, be proud to be Jewish or Jew-ish – or, if not Jewish at all, proud to have us as much a part of this great nation as any other minority, as any of you.”

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content