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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 08:02 pm:   

Has anyone seen this movie? What did you think of it?
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:33 am:   

I saw the movie in the theater, and I own it on video. It's one of my favorite movies of all time. I think it, instead of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, should have won Best Film for that year.

Yes, despite everything, I have a big soft heart. I'm sure there are many of you who see this film as a big piece of schmaltzy crud, but there's something about perservering in the face of insurmontable odds that really gets to me.

I think that this movie and THE PIANIST are both excellent films. In many ways, I could watch stories of people surviving the holocaust again and again and never get tired of them.

If you haven't read MAUS, you should look into that, too. And, if you are going to World Fantasy, you should go to the Holocaust museum. It's a very powerful place. Every turn in the museum is another thing you will never forget.

So, I liked the movie. I liked that the end wasn't perfect, even if it was happy and hopeful.

JK
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:46 am:   

I've read both MAUS, and I've had lots of talks with my grandfather, who's a survivor.

I also think THE PIANIST is very good. And I've been to the Holocaust museum many times.

Have you seen THE GREY ZONE?
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:53 am:   

No I have not seen THE GREY ZONE. Should I? Is it hard to find?

RE: Maus, my wife teaches them to her high school students as a companion to Elie Wiesel's NIGHT.

JK
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

Ugh. Couldn't stand NIGHT.

I haven't seen GREY ZONE yet, but it's been on my to-see list ever since it came out a few years ago.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 09:13 am:   

Yes, Life is Beautiful was a good film. I thought it did win the award for Best film? It certainly did for best director.

Has anyone seen any of the other Benigni films? There are several which are better: Johny Stichinno and The Monster. There is another with Walter Mathau called Il Piccolo Diavolo, but I dont think that is available in English.
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Jon Skovron
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

don't forget DOWN BY LAW starring Benigni and Tom Waits as escaped cons in New Orleans.

Directed by Jim Jarmuch (sp?) I think.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 01:10 pm:   

Yes, Down By Law was good too. The Monster though is really something special! He is suspected of being a notorious Florentine serial killer and . . .

Well, one needs to see it!
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Kage Baker
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 06:41 pm:   

Actually, THE GREY ZONE came out in October 2002 and is only recently out on DVD. I think.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 08:07 pm:   

I thought it came out in 2001. Oh well.

Has anyone seen it? Is it worth seeing?
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 06:28 am:   

I liked LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, although I must confess Roberto Benigni irritates the hell out of me.

Haven't seen THE GREY ZONE either, but I heard lots of mixed reactions about it.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 08:10 am:   

I disliked Life Is Beautiful and found its message offensive. While I'm sure there's a need for a film version of Holocaust comfort food, (like Hogan's Heroes, only with Jews), it strikes me as an untruthfully manipulative attempt to say, (as did Monty Python) Always Look on the Bright Side of Life! and the spirit will triumph!

I'd like to believe that a Get Over It Attitude would work.

I recognize this film was not meant to show an accurate or realistic portrayal of life in the camps. It was a comic interpretation with the authenticity of a theme park. The dark truths were shown in shadow, a small reminder, but nothing so brutal as to get in the way of the fun. As a comic fantasy interpreting history it was fine. As an authentic historic portrayal of humanity in crisis it lacks credibility. I hear a lot of people who prefer to see LiB as a defining movie about the experience of enslavement and brutality.

The spirit can triumph over the most dire of circumstances. It is those stories I think worty of praise.
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Tamar
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 04:11 am:   

I haven't seen Life Is Beautiful - I tend to avoid Holocaust films partly because I find the idea of actors and film crews getting together to perform scenes of gas chambers etc. obscene. I know that the logical extreme of this position would be to make no films depicting real events at all, but I don't claim to be rational on the subject. That apart, I do wonder why all these films are obliged to be "uplifting tales of heroism and the power of the human spirit." Why are people so determined to milk the Holocaust for cathartic and uplifting experiences? Is it because they simply can't bear to contemplate it in any other fashion? Whatever, I find the whole business distasteful and deeply, deeply questionable.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 04:29 am:   

Well, let's face it: any story about a Holocaust survivor is a story of an exception to the general rule. Most of those people did not survive. Whether their stories were uplifting tales and so forth is questionable, and in fact very unlikely; it was an ugly situation all around. But Hollywood doesn't like showing us ugly.

Also, I for one don't mind Holocaust films. I was born in '83, so I'm too young to really know, but my mom seems to recall that the resurgence of Holocaust interest and knowledge is the result of two main factors:

1) The survivors had lived long enough since the trauma to actually be ready and able to start speaking about it, and, at the same time,

2) That HOLOCAUST miniseries aired on TV.

That's when the Holocause became such a well-known thing as it is now. In large part because of that film.

And for all the films that, though they take place during the Holocaust, have little or nothing to do with how it really was, they are at least probably inspiring some few to go out and learn the facts, and say what you will about Speilberg, but he at least undertook his massive documentary Holocaust survivor interview project, which if nothing else made my grandfather a good friend in his interviewer, so . . . crap. I've lost my train of thought.

Basically, no, I don't mind Holocaust movies. What I do mind is this: I think I read something in the news a couple years ago about how someone made . . . was it a lego scale model of Auschwitz or something? . . . and wanted it put in the Holocaust Memorial Museum?
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 09:49 am:   

Tamar -

Yes, but these things are a matter of personal experience. Some people, generally people who have not seen Life is Beautiful, find it (or the idea of it) distasteful. But many also - Jews and otherwise - have liked the film very much. I think it is hard to judge something without experiencing it yourself. But the problem is, that even if you saw it now, you would go in with a sort of preconception. When I saw the film, I just walked into the theatre because I liked the actor. It was before it was "big". And I knew nothing about the film at all. I had a good experience. But I would hope that that does not mean that I have less compassion than others.

As for people wanting the Holocaust to be an uplifting expereince, I am not sure about that. I dont recall any of Primo Levi's books being uplifting. I personally did not find Life is Beautiful uplifting. I simply found it to be a good, and compassionate, film.

But of course these are touchy subjects.

Brendan
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T.C.
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 11:00 am:   

I wept for a very long time after watching Life is Beautiful. One would hardly weep for a film that attemped to be "uplifting," would they? My twelve-year-old daughter cried, too.

This film is important, gut-wrenching, compassionate and, imo, a masterpiece. The humor is there to show the power of the human spirit, as well as the main character's fierce love for his son, his desperate attempts to shield his boy from the horrors of the camp. Uplifting, it is not.

Another great film having to do with that time, based on one man's true account, is "Europa, Europa."

See, I disagree with some of you who find these films offensive -- I believe that it's *imperative* these films be made, not only for the memory of those who perished, but to *educate* the younger generations, the generations to come. And they must be made well, with respect, with love.

I'm not saying that every film about the Holocaust *should* have the greenlight, however -- I read somewhere that Jerry Lewis tried for ages to produce one that featured him as a clown who entertained the children in the death camps. Uh, no.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 11:59 am:   

The Jerry Lewis film is real. It's been made, it just hardly ever gets shown anywhere. It's being shown next week in L.A. for anyone who lives in the area. Here's a link for it:

http://boingboing.net/2003_07_01_archive.html#200443658

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