Documentary 84 minutes
The true story of Martha, a Polish survivor of the Holocaust, who led a double life in Australia and her daughter Eve, a psychologist and filmmaker, who discovered the truth.
“I thought I was from your typical Jewish migrant family until I found clues that led me to a man on the bus.”
A story of desire, deception, and discovery.
I think I may be your sister.
These words, spoken by an absolute stranger to Eve Ash, a noted Australian psychologist and filmmaker, set off an exploration during which Eve eventually uncovers a wholly unexpected life-changing secret. Her mother, Martha, was a Holocaust survivor who emigrated from Poland to Australia after marrying another Jewish survivor at the end of the war, becoming the mother of two and a successful artist. In fact, however, Martha lived a life of secrets.
The film follows Eve over the course of a decade, as she pursues the truth. Clues are found in old recordings, a street directory and in Martha’s home movies, a mystery man is seen gazing into the lens. Eve’s investigation leads her to the Sobieski Castle in the Ukraine, the site of a massacre in which her maternal grandmother died. Martha’s husband was also executed, and Martha was forced into hiding. Eve also traces her father’s amazing and heroic escape from a concentration camp.
In Melbourne, Eve’s parents set out to remake their shattered lives. However, their quest for normality is disrupted by a chance encounter on a bus that changes the course of Martha’s life and ultimately alters Eve’s life as well. Man on the Bus becomes a compelling tale of two defining human traits — endurance and frailty — and a metaphor for the 20th century’s most painful trauma.