Is attempting to capture one of the greatest human crimes futile?
Jerry Lewis was so unhappy with his attempt to evoke the Holocaust that he made his film one of the most famous to never be released. The Day the Clown Cried and countless others have approached the Holocaust in different ways, perhaps none of them completely successfully.
Wars and slavery have accompanied the Holocaust as filmmakers attempt to convey something faithful to its history, either to instruct, reflect, or damn. Finding a way to do so that does it honorably is the tricky part.
Leigh Singer’s essay, originally for Sight & Sound, explores whether film as a medium is even capable of doing historical and emotional justice to the event. Addressing barbarism through poetry, or some combination of the two, may betray the plights of the survivors or the failures of a humanity capable of such atrocities.
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