Given current events in Europe it is well worth remembering that the defining event of the last hundred years was probably the Holocaust.
Man’s inhumanity to man reached its zenith with the wholesale genocide of European Jews during World War II in which the Nazis systemically murdered some six million Jews, in addition there were probably at least another six million people murdered by the Nazis during the same period.
It would be fair to say, post World War II, cinema has struggled to come to terms in depicting the unbelievable events that occurred during this time . . .
I’ll be focusing on three films that focused on the Holocaust in differing ways.
1982’s Alan J. Pakula’s film Sophie’s Choice dealt with survivor’s guilt and had one of the most distressing scenes ever filmed as Meryl Streep starred, and was superlative in her best ever performance as a Polish immigrant with a dark secret from her past at Auschwitz.
Next was the how the Holocaust moved towards the factory style death camps that was never better dramatised in the superlative 2001 made-for-TV film Conspiracy starring Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann.
This drama is brilliantly acted by a terrific ensemble British cast which depicts the infamous 1942 Wannsee Conference which used the only surviving recorded transcript from the meeting.
And finally, to what I consider one of the best films ever made, and one of the most important in the way it brought the Holocaust into the conscious of many people in the last 30 years. Of course I am referring to Steve Spielberg’s masterpiece Schindler’s List, released in 1993.
Never has a film, IMO, dramatised so poignantly and with such ruthless detail as to what the experience of the Holocaust was in the way Spielberg achieved here in the telling of the Oskar Schindler story.
I have a dedicated playlist from this movie on my channel which has 10 clips, from which I have selected the following two:
If you can, enjoy and discuss.