This week we saw another excellent film that was highly recommended by wmtc readers, "Fugitive Pieces", based on the novel by Anne Michaels, and written for the screen and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, both Canadian.
I was sure I would never see another Holocaust movie. I was force-fed Holocaust education throughout my childhood, and frankly, I've had enough. I have no patience for Hollywood-style Holocaust, like "Life Is Beautiful," and I don't need to see any forbidden love stories set against a swirling backdrop of Nazis. I fully understand the need to never forget, but there is such a thing as too much remembering, at least on the individual level.
For me, the truly great works about the Holocaust, like "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," or visiting the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, reach beyond the specific to embrace the universal - the threat of fascism, or genocide in general. I wish more Jewish people would broaden and generalize their own thinking about the Holocaust to include all victims of genocide by all genocidal regimes.*
I felt that "Fugitive Pieces" did that. It's a movie about survivors, especially the survivors of childhood trauma, and how trauma plays out in our lives, forever. Although clearly I've never suffered on the level the character Jakob Beer did, I do identify as a trauma survivor, and the movie spoke to me personally on a profound level. It's also a movie about enduring love, and about the bonds of family, both biological and not.
The acting and the writing are superb. It's very, very sad, but offers joy and hope. If you haven't seen it, don't miss it.
* Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, has called Israel's siege of Gaza a genocide and has cut his country's ties with Israel. We're going to hear Norman Finkelstein tomorrow night, so perhaps I'll have more thoughts on the use of currency like the words "holocaust" and "genocide".