Walter Cronkite (Self)Margot Landwirth Glazer (Self)John Glenn (Self)Henri Landwirth (Self)
Robert Allan Black
For over three years, Borrowing Time follows Henri Landwirth as he seeks to take measure of his past, re-visit its haunting ground, and in doing so find release from its hold. The film begins with Henri's hope that maybe someday the numbness that haunts him might go away and he can start feeling again. He confides that by returning to Poland and facing his past there it might in some way free him. Henri tells us about the day that two German soldiers decided to fire their rifles in the air and allow him to escape into the woods. Of course, while the German soldiers spared Henri's life, they never really set him free. Henri is an American hero. Someone who gives more than he gets. Someone who opens his life to a lot of personal pain while he seeks to help others. Henri Landwirth came to this country with twenty dollars in his pocket, a very poor command of the English language and a sixth grade education. He started working as a maid in a hotel in New York and quickly worked his way up the ladder. It was in Cocoa Beach, Florida, however, that he was to make his mark. He managed the only game in town, the Starlite Hotel. It was here that he began a friendship with the original Mercury astronauts that carries forward to this day. John Glenn calls Henri his hero. After amassing considerable wealth, Henri found that his life lacked purpose and meaning. So he started Give Kids the World, a 55-acre resort that has served 55,000 dying children and their families since its inception. Working with ill children caused a certain numbness to come into Henri's life. It was the same numbness Henri knew when he was liberated from the Nazi concentration camps. Henri, along with his twin sister, Margot, survived the Holocaust, yet their parents were brutally murdered. Borrowing Time Juxtaposes Henri's life with the children at Give Kids the World with his inner hope to be liberated from the past. It is about a search for lost childhood. Indeed the theme of motherhood, family, lost and remembered, runs deeply throughout Henri and his sister's lives. It is about forgiveness and non-forgiveness. Henri claims to have forgiven the Germans; Margot emphatically has not. The film follows Henri's quest through five countries and three states. While Henri never finds quite finds that release from the past, in fact, he has a stroke in its pursuit, he still manages to rise above and give the world an extraordinary gift. He's still doing it right now, after the stroke, starting more charities, helping more people. And that is Henri's final lesson: If we can never quite get free from the past, we can, at least, try to be a little like Henri. We can rise above ourselves and do extraordinary things to make the world a better place.