In 1945, four German soldiers, sick from war, disobeyed orders and, instead of killing Henri, told him to run into the woods. He ran. They fired their rifles harmlessly into the air. While they saved his life, they never really set him free.
John Glenn, the esteemed Senator and astronaut, calls his old friend Henri Landwirth, his hero, because Henri has changed so many lives for the better, especially ill children. And Henri inspired countless people, around the world, to pay that love forward.
The one life Henri can’t make better is his own.
As one of his ex-wives says, “…he can love the many – the love he’s shown strangers, but when it comes to a single relationship…”
But Henri knows what he doesn’t have and he’s desperate to get it. Even if it means facing his old haunting ground, revisiting his years as a Nazi slave to render himself free from his lifelong antagonist, numbness. Along the journey, Henri falls deeply in love. His joy grows. But then his demons are never really done with him.
Loving Henri follows Landwirth, off and on, for 14 years, as he quests for psychological and spiritual freedom from the past. It was filmed in Orlando, Asheville, Jacksonville, Give Kids the World Village, The Astronaut Hall of Fame, The Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Krakow, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Prague, Plaszow, the Czech and Polish Countryside.
Henri forgives his tormentors. His twin sister, Margot, emphatically will not forgive. But despite their divergent outlooks, they are tied together as one.
The characters in this film are not only the living, but the dead. Henri’s mother, Fanny, is as completely alive in his memory as it is in his twin sister’s. He still desperately wants his mother to be proud of him. The other characters from the past, aren’t people they are places. Plaszow, the last place, he saw his mother alive. Auschwitz and Birkenau, shrouded in fog, slimy with rain, punctuated by lightning.
The need to help those less fortunate. Forgiveness. And overcoming our past are themes everyone can identify with in some measure. After all, if Henri can rise above the past to do all he has done, can’t we all?
If you wish to pay Henri’s legacy forward, please contact: givekidstheworld.org.
Or if you’re interested in helping our returning veterans and the homeless, please contact: dignityuwear.org.