Holocaust At The Movies

Ouch. We didn’t really mean that. But we did. This year’s UK Jewish Film Festival kicks off this week, and we’ve found that all of our picks are films to do with the Holocaust. Which is interesting, because nobody wants to watch Holocaust movies anymore. We want to read books about the Holocaust but, apparently, we don’t want to watch films about it. Go and watch these, and you will revise that decision:

Natan – Cine Lumiere, 17 Nov, UK premiere.

A fascinating and troubling film about Bernard Natan, the founder of French cinema giant Pathe, whose Jewishness led to a malicious campaign to remove him from the company; even today his name is a mere footnote in the company history. Particularly resonant, with current anti-Semitism growth in Europe.

Victor Young Perez – Odeon Swiss Cottage, 18 Nov, UK premiere.

An epic and lavish portrait of the 1930s Tunisian Jewish World Flyweight Champion Victor Perez – whose journey took him from the glamour and swagger of 1930s and ’40s Paris to the misery of Auschwitz, where he had to box for the entertainment of the camp commanders. Watching his downfall is shocking. How have we barely heard of him? 

In Silence – Odeon Swiss Cottage, 10 Nov, UK premiere.

Exquisitely beautiful and perfect film about the musicians who were dispensed with during the Holocaust. The Czech director of this masterpiece, Zdenek Jirasky, will take part in a Q&A after the screening.

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Once In A Lifetime – Odeon Swiss Cottage, 9 & 16 Nov, UK premiere.

Fascinating and moving real-life story about a group of unruly French kids living in a sad banlieue outside Paris, who are forced to learn about children’s lives during the Holocaust. It has a profound effect on them. The film brings new meaning to the concept of Holocaust Education. The French director Marie Castille Mention Schaar takes a Q&A for the 9 Nov screening.

We’ll Never Have Paris – Odeon Swiss Cottage, 9 Nov & Everyman Hampstead, 20 Nov. Almost a UK premiere (it was the closing film of this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival).

We’re throwing this in for a laugh because it is totally brilliant and there is a painfully fabulous scene where the young nebach anti-hero, Simon Helberg, meets the non-Jewish, European and arty, would-be in-laws. And their conversation gets stuck on the Holocaust.

The UK Jewish Film Festival runs from 6 – 23 November: www.ukjewishfilm.org

Nicola Christie is also the Programmer of UK Jewish Film Festival.

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