serious subject Hollywood doesn't avoid More than 170 films about the Holocaust
have been made since 1989. Six more are out this fall
Christian Science Monitor, November 22, 2002
"At a time when fantasies, comedies, and frivolous fare dominate the movie marketplace, films on serious subjects often seem like an endangered cultural species. Yet one utterly serious event - arguably the gravest of the past century - retains strong relevance for filmmakers and audiences. This is the Holocaust, with the evidence it contained of a bestial inhumanity lurking at the heart of contemporary life. One sign of ongoing interest in Holocaust films is the arrival of four new movies on the subject in American theaters during the next two months: 1The Pianist' and 'Amen' dramatize true experiences; 'Max' is historical fiction; and 'Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary' is a documentary. Another sign is the publication of Annette Insdorf's definitive book 'Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust' in a new edition next month. The author discusses no fewer than 170 films that have been made or rediscovered since the last edition in 1989. 'I could have devoted a whole new book to the recent titles alone," said Ms. Insdorf in a recent interview ... Hollywood began tackling the subject in earnest with Stanley Kramer's epic 'Judgment at Nuremberg' in 1961, and Steven Spielberg renewed its impact for a new generation with 'Schindler's List' in 1993, earning his first Oscar for best director. Filmmakers have taken on Holocaust themes for many reasons, including personal ties to the subject or a wish to explore their own Jewish roots ... 'Movies made during or just after the war often show a belief in interfaith solidarity,' she observes. By contrast, Holocaust movies of the '50s and '60s usually focus 'on Jewish victims and Nazi villains, establishing basic facts of deportation and extermination.' Later releases like 'Schindler's List' tend to concentrate on 'resistance and rescue,' in Insdorf's words."