“Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s debut documentary…celebrates the Reys’ extraordinary creative collaboration amidst the chaos of a world at war”
Hans and Margret Rey are known worldwide as the creators of the iconic children’s book series featuring a mischievous monkey named George whose defining qualities are curiosity and ingenuity; traits the Reys themselves displayed throughout their eventful lives.
Childhood friends from upper middle class Jewish families who lived in Hamburg before the Third Reich cast a shadow over Europe, the couple fled Hitler’s army as it advanced on Paris in June 1940 on the only mode of transport they could secure - bikes Hans had refashioned from spare parts. Among the scant few belongings they took with them was a manuscript and sketches for a storybook then entitled Fifi, the Adventures of a Monkey. Granted U.S. visas later the same year, the Reys made a new home from themselves in New York City where they reunited with a canny English book publisher who changed the course of their lives.
Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s wonderfully engaging documentary seamlessly incorporates interviews and historical footage with Jacob Kafka’s visually inventive animation.