From aboard the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Smith talks to the cast of "Teen Wolf" about the solemn yet celebratory panel for the upcoming season. This news and more in our Guide to Comic-Con.
This is a pretty good movie. The director knows how to tell a good story and there were several times when my heart leapt into my throat. The film had character development, nuance and depth. This movie also helped me to understand much better what happened at the Hollandse Schouwburg. I hope Dutch directors continue to make movies to tell the story of what happened in the Netherlands during the Second World War, because it wasn't all Anne Frank.
The theme of the Holocaust, complete with cattle cars, has been rendered many times on film. It is a familiar story to most moviegoers. Also, over the years Dutch directors have made several important films that help a Dutch movie-going audience to remember and mythologise what happened.
In this version of the theme, we're shown what happened in Amsterdam. The story focuses on David Suskind, a German-Jewish refugee cum businessman who found himself in the position of having to organise the transport of Amsterdam's Jews to Westerbork and then on to their fate in the camps.
The imprisonment and deportation of all these civilians was a horrific event, difficult to show on film and painful to watch. These activities could only take place if the victims weren't aware of what was going to happen to them. We're shown the minutiae of this operation and what happened when suspicions started arising. The horror of the extreme moral dilemmas involved are brought to life for the viewer.
I felt this movie was too sympathetic. Please don't take this the wrong way, but saving 600 children (as wonderful and miraculous as that was) didn't make up for the systematic destruction of almost all of Amsterdam's jewry, a deeply rooted community that was in some ways the soul of Amsterdam. There is no redemption here. For anyone. Anne Frank, Suskind -- these stories do not represent what actually happened.
I suppose that's the problem with Holocaust movies -- the moviegoer prefers some redemption at the end, some indication that there is a moral universe (even if that's not the case). I think the end might have been stronger by telling us more about the children who survived.
For reasons I don't quite understand, many Dutch movies lapse into sappiness and melodrama. This one included. I suppose it was inevitable given the theme. I'm thinking in particular of the scene at the tracks.
Perhaps someone will think of making a movie recreating pre-war Jewish life in Amsterdam? Amsterdam is a fascinating city and this is something I don't think I've ever seen on film.
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