Holocaust Film Analysis

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The 1940s to the 1950s was a devastating time not only was World War II going on, but the Holocaust was also taking place during this time. The Holocaust is “the killing of many Jews and other people by the Nazis during World War II”. About 11 million people died during this horrifying event, and 6 million of them were the Jewish race. Young adults in high school are constantly being exposed to the Holocaust through film and literature. Nonfiction film and literature are an excellent form of learning about the Holocaust because they tell the actual experience of the survivors. Fiction films, on the other hand, don’t really do a job on describing the Holocaust accurately. The first Holocaust films were different than then they are now. According …show more content…
These horrifying images are drawn out to the audience and provide insight about the horrible torture the Jews faced in Nazi Germany. My number one goal of films about the Holocaust should be to accurately teach scholars about the tragedy. Yet, many of the fiction Holocaust films fail at achieving this goal because filmmakers aestheticize the Holocaust, distort memories, the question about ethics and the portrays the Holocaust as a comedy. These four misrepresentations trivialize the importance of the Holocaust in movies.
The first major flaw of Holocaust films is that filmmakers aestheticize the Holocaust. Aestheticize means to depict something beautifully. The Holocaust was not attractive, but in certain films the Holocaust becomes more appealing to the audience. There is a negative impact on Holocaust films by introducing aesthetics to it. On the contrary, the article, “Godard’s List: Why Spielberg and Auschwitz Are Number One” provides a logical point on why aestheticizing part of the Holocaust is helpful for the movie. Jean-Luc Godard, film critic, in Wheeler’s article contributed to this through informing us that “the cultivation of a certain aesthetic necessarily entails a certain ethical standpoint”
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The Jews experienced this tragic event, but many times filmmakers manipulate the survivors’ memory to get an interesting story for the audience. This was explained when Duncan Wheeler talked about Schindlers List. Honan as cited in Wheelers article explains that “After the film’s release, Oskar’s widow, Emilie, complained viciously that the film was wildly inaccurate and that neither Thomas Keneally nor Spielberg had made any attempt to contact her. She speaks bitterly of how Oskar showed no concern over her four miscarriages and she argues that he remained in Cracow because he was scared of being called to fight against the Russians” (192). This implies that Spielberg changed the story about Oskar for his and the audience’s benefit. Filmmakers also constantly use the same memory when creating the films. Ebbrecht argues, “This ongoing repetition creates a situation in which the iconic images become embedded as part of our personal memory” (90). This weakens Holocaust films because the producers produce what has already been seen. Also, filmmakers pushed Holocaust survivors to tell their stories even though it was extremely painful for them. In the article, “Staging Memory and Trauma in French and Italian Holocaust film”, she states that, “Many survivors, it seemed, were not ready to enter into the trying course of remembering, reliving and commemorating their pasts” (Renga 462). It