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Jacob the Liar
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Jacob the Liar

In his bittersweet comedy loaded with human quirks and nuance, Jacob invents news reports to bolster the spirits of the other Jews living in his Polish ghetto under Nazi occupation. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1977, the story was remade in Hollywood starring Robin Williams in 1999.

In a Polish ghetto in 1944, Jacob Heym is summoned to the police station. While there, Jacob overhears on the radio that "the Russians are twenty kilometers from Bezanika." The next day he tells this to a despondent friend who is about to commit suicide, and the news renews his hope in salvation. As no one would believe the true story, Jacob pretends to have a radio; as no one in the ghetto is allowed to have a radio, however, all are eager to hear news from the outside world and constantly ask Jacob for updates on the advance of the Soviets. Jacob creates fictional reports to help alleviate the unbearable hopelessness of those around him; but his lies cannot stop the machinery that brings death to all the ghetto inhabitants.