Never an End to the Story of the Shoah

It certainly seems that way at times. Two more films about the murder of six million European Jews this weekend, both at the Quad Cinema. The first is a genuinely excellent documentary that takes a very different perspective on the Nazis, that of their children and grandchildren. The second is the first French fiction film written and directed by a Jew about the infamous Vel d'Hiv round-up. I would definitely not suggest seeing them back-to-back although, given the proximity of the screening rooms -- maybe twenty feet separates them -- it might be tempting.



Jean Reno as a valiant Jewish physician in La Rafle

I find it interesting that as a subject for fiction films the subject has become so codified that it is now indisuptably a genre of its own. All the elements that make a genre cohere -- iconography, visual style, narrative structure, central themes -- are present now, and you can mark out how a film fits in within the first few seconds of its running time. La Rafle, the new French film, eschews one visual element that unites most of its predecessors -- desaturated color -- but in most other respects it is of a piece with them.




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