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14-year-old György's life is torn apart in World War II Hungary as he is sent to a concentration camp where he is forced to become a man, and learns to find happiness in the midst of hatred, and what it really means to be Jewish.
It is the real story of Giorgio Perlasca (Luca Zingaretti). During the 1920s he was an Italian Fascist supporter, fighting in Africa an in the Spanish civil war where he deserved a safe conduct for Spanish embassies. After some years, disillusioned by fascism, he is a fresh supplier for the Italian army. In the war years he is in Budapest for his business. He lives an easy life there, well introduced into the Hungarian high society, without any problem coming from the war situation. When the Nazi occupied Hungary, in 1944, instead to leave (Italy had already surrendered to the Allies) he escaped to the Spanish embassy in Budapest using his old safe conduct and becoming a Spanish citizen, changing name into Jorge Perlasca. He starts working as a diplomat here. When Sanz Briz (Geza Tordy), the Spanish consul, is removed, Perlasca immediately substitutes him, like if he was officially appointed from Spanish authorities. All the Nazi, the Hungarian authorities believe him. In his new fake... Written by
The title summarizes it all: this is a second version of Schindler's List: a fascist who finally saves the jews by all means he has... What's the big difference?
First of all, it's the peculiar setting in time and place. During World War II, Hungary chose the side of the Axis, until Horthy, the dictator seeked for contact with the Allies in 1944 (the walls of the Third Reich were crumbling at that time). Hitler then supported the Hungarian Nazi's (who never were a part of the regime of Horthy), the Arrow Cross Party, to take control. They immediately introduced a severe jew prosecution and extermination. These facts are little known. So, it's strange to see the uniforms and symbols of the Hungarian Nazi's, because they are unfamiliar to us.
Second, where Spielberg was a bit wary of showing too many horror, the Italians didn't hide a thing. For instance the mass execution scene where couples were tied up on each other and the husband executed, dumped in the Danube so the wife drowned isn't suitable for children.
This movie may be stamped forever as Schindler's List II, but it's better.
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