‘Disobedience’ at Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre

May 4, 2012 by  

This past Thursday, film lovers flocked to the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York, for the American premiere of ‘Disobedience’, a biopic about celebrated World War II humanitarian Sousa Mendes.

Mendes, the Porugese Consul General, was stationed in France during World War II. Despite being given strict orders not to help Holocaust refugees, Mendes issued 30,000 visas to help them escape from occupied Europe.

In the audience were several Holocaust survivors or descendants of survivors who owed their escape to Mendes’ actions. Louis-Phillipe Mendes, Sousa’s grandson, was also in attendance and said that he was honored to “[meet] the refugees and some of their descendants” and was also honored to represent his family, who he says were his heroes.

Following the war, Mendes and his family of 15 children were blacklisted in Portugal for his actions. Prior to his death in 1954, Mendes asked his children to clear the family name. Since then, they have worked to spread the word about his deeds. In 1966 Israel recognized him, and in 1986 the United States did as well. In 1987 Portugal’s president, Mario Soares, issued an apology to the Mendes family, posthumously promoted Mendes to Ambassador, and awarded him the Portuguese Order of Freedom. Now Santoni’s film may remind another generation of Mendes’ heroic actions.

While this film was incredibly important to them, it is also no doubt that printing businesses will be working on fliers to promote it to a broader audience. Mendes’ actions are not very well known, and this film is a great way to gain him recognition.