by Laurent Kelly
A few months ago I wrote an article over at obsessed with film.com in which I expressed my outrage over the teaser trailer for Uwe Boll’s film Auschwitz. Having intensely studied the Holocaust subject matter I have a strong belief that certain things are best left to the imagination when dealing with this incredibly sensitive tragedy. It may be more cinematic to try and reenact what happened but the Holocaust was not a cinematic event and you can not hope to try and accurately portray its history because there were so many different incidents and stories that to attempt to encapsulate the whole thing risks great offence to the people who suffered.
If you make the subject too accesible filmmakers begin to take liberties with the tragedy and pretty soon the Holocaust becomes an ordinary genre convention in which the images of suffering become familiar and give the audience a false sense of knowledge. The reason why I think The Pianist is such an amazing film is because it tells just one story in an open minded approach to what happened to one individual. Afterwards you don’t come away thinking that you know what the Holocaust was about but rather the film leaves you numb and cold inside and it makes you reflect on the event in a serious and focused manner.
When I saw first Uwe Boll’s teaser trailer I was outraged at the visceral quality of the gas chamber sequences which seemed to exist for the sole purpose of shock value in order to cater to the instant gratification generation of young adults. Even though the Holocaust is a vital piece of history which requires patience and an open mind , here Boll just seemed to be using the tragedy to suit the purpose of a violent and conveniently controversial picture:
Well now it seems that Boll has got what he probably wanted all along which is the controversial reaction to the release of his film which will now give him a sickening level of publicity.
The Guardian are reporting that critics are so disturbed by Boll’s film that they threatening to boycott it altogether. Tom Goldman from the Escapist has described the event as “sick and gruesome ” and many other critics are singing to the same tune.
Boll initially stated that he wanted to show what really happened at Auschwitz and this for me is a true example of his blissful ignorance. Because I ask you now Uwe Boll. How the fuck do you know what really happened? Pardon my french but were you there when hundreds of innocent men, women and children crushed one another in an attempt to escape the unimaginable terror of the gas chambers and how do you even come close to tasting the tears of the barbers who had to shave the hair of their neighbours all the while knowing what harsh fate lied in store for them. And could you even imagine what it was like to be a good man in a SS uniform forced to go through with such heinous behaviour or have the gun turned in your direction?
The answer is no. There are six million stories surrounding the Holocaust and that is six million too many to try and show what really happened. And so when I hear that other scenes involve prisoners being placed into ovens and having their teeth pulled I’m not going to even give you the benefit of the doubt in watching your film. Instead I plead that you go back to butchering video games as opposed to helping to taint one of the most tragic events in world history.