Film studies holocaust

The Holocaust has been one of the most significant historical incidents that resulted in the genocide of at least 6 million European Jews, and consequently considering its importance, a variety of Holocaust movies were being produced, among which The Pianist of 2002 deserves special mention. In the article Introduction to Film, Trauma and Holocaust, the most distinctive and prevalent features of the Holocaust movies have been examined and analyzed. Although previously a variety of movies were being released, revolving around the theme of Holocaust, the aforementioned article is a unique one, as it seeks to analyze the reason behind the impassionate, objective and almost insensitive portrayal of horrific incident of Holocaust that literally took away the lives of a huge number of people.


Unlike other articles, this article does not describe the cinematography of the Holocaust themed movies, or strike a comparison among the common plots, but rather analyzes the reason behind impassionate depiction of Holocaust in these films, from a socio-political point of view (Hirsch).

The article states that The Pianist or any Holocaust themed movie, shows its characters display a sense of apathy and indifference to the horrific world where there is nothing certain or assured anymore, and almost everything is on the verge of destruction. Not a single scene in the movie does show, the characters feeling terrified by the impending danger, and the absence melodrama strikes the readers hard. As Szpilman, in the movie, returns from the radios station, he along with his family discovers the news that a war is to be launched on Germany, and yet they start laughing. The scene is quite significant, as the article points out (page 5) that the use of melodrama befits ordinary tragic tales, and the depiction of a grandly tragic incident through Melodrama only serves to undermine the tragic horror. Herein lays the reason behind impassionate portrayal of the scenes in the movie. Again, another important point mentioned in page 6 of the article is that though the characters undergo incredible pain of loss and destruction, the characters in the Holocaust movies are being portrayed as apathetic and indifferent, without being psychologically traumatized. In a particular scene of The Pianist, the audience watches astonishingly how Szpilman keeps on playing his piano even though as many as 1,400,000 German troops began bombing Warsaw in tanks and airplanes (Prager). While the audience is left to wonder as to why the characters of the movie do not get psychologically traumatized, the article states that it is because the Holocaust was being carried out with utmost secrecy. Consequently, the Director has remained unaware of what the trauma might have been in absence of any eye-witness. Again, in another scene, an injured Szpilman remains unmoved by the huge explosion happening around him, and says “It’s nothing”. Again, in page 11, the article states that with the death of a huge number of people in the massacre, Holocaust also brought an end to innumerable communities and languages and with so much so loss, the sense of loss was itself being lost. Consequently, the directors of the Holocaust themed movies found it had to portray a sense of loss in the movies. Even in the movie, the audience finds Szpilman ignoring the horrendous even occurring ariound him, abd is rather joking with his friend and flirting with a young woman (Bayer et al. ).

Although the movie The Pianist employs the use of brilliant cinematographic techniques, portraying almost a miraculous survival of ts protagonist, the movie fails to delineate the unrelenting suffering of the Jews in the face of impending death. However, considering the grand, tragic theme the movie was dealing with, and limited knowledge about the emotional effect of Holocaust on the lives of the people, the indifferent and impassionate tone of the movie was indeed apt and justified.