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... sticks in the head and I can't understand the bad reviews. It is a very strange
on 22 May 2015
I think this is an extraordinary film that sticks in the head and I can't understand the bad reviews. It is a very strange, unconventional film. There is a section where German teens are quizzed on what they understand about Auschwitz. Some are stunningly uninformed. Others know so much. Its disturbing the gulf in their knowledge. Some have literally no idea of what happened, some seem utterly unmoved. Its as if the whole thing happened in a different time , to different people even though they have grandparents, great-grandparents. I have seen a lot of documentaries and films about the Holocaust. I found the dramatisation in this wholly new, revelatory . It utterly brought home the mundane, business side of the camp. For the officers it was just a job. They are not monsters, just people doing a job. Doing the same thing, every day. Their routine you can feel has been smoothed over time. There is real horror for example when you see them shoot babies... The detail makes you really feel the full horror, the crying babies faces so close, so alive, so real. What you see, the killers saw. Held. And yet still found the ability to kill.
The tired, exhausted terrified people being shepherded in to their deaths after harrowing, arduous journeys. After months and maybe years of growing doubt and fear and uncertainty. Is this really the end? You feel for some a kind of resignation.
There is a chilling lack of drama, just another day, just another mass of people to be processed by jaded guards and nervous inmates. The slowness, stillness gives it reality. You get to take in the tiny details, the child being undressed by his father who is sure to put his little boots safely together, for afterwards. Its heartbreaking stuff but its unsentimentally done. More it is a depiction of the mundane nature of something repeated day after day, over so long. One guard asks for leave to go home in time for his first child's birth. And you see incredibly, these people who murder all day , who sift through the loot of their victims, they are actually still people. They can shoot a baby and still long to get home in time to meet a baby.