‘Distant Journey’, part of Berlinale Classics, is one of the first films to depict the horrors of the Holocaust

Posted on February 14, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/distant-journey-part-of-berlinale-classics-this-year-is-one-of-the-first-films-to-depict-horrors-of-the-holocaust-8029611.html

A couple of weeks ago, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wrote about Claude Lanzmann’s marathon French documentary, Shoah (1985). A few days from now, at the Berlin Film Festival, a different kind of Holocaust film will be featured: Distant Journey, by Alfréd Radok. This one’s in Czech, and the most important aspect of the film is its timing. It was released in June 1949, less than four years after the end of World War II. Along with The Last Stage – the 1947 Polish feature directed by Wanda Jakubowska, depicting her experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp – Distant Journey was one of the first films to depict the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Cinema of Central Europe, edited by Peter A Hames, contains a quote by Radok about how the falseness of Nazi propaganda incited him to make this movie: “I wanted to stress the paradox that so many people – and this was true of so many in Communist Czechoslovakia – simply don’t see things, don’t want to see them or see only the picture of Hitler and the little girl.” He’s talking about the 1933 photo of the Nazi leader hugging 6-year-old Rosa Bernile Nienau, whose grandmother was Jewish. This was the time Hitler was being presented to the world as a kindly, avuncular figure. The little girl even called him “Uncle Hitler”.

Continued at the link above.

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