Saturday, December 14, 2013

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State (2005)

AKA: Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'

Directors: Laurence Rees, Catherine Tatge

Writers: Doris Bergen, Megan Callaway, David Orenstein, Laurence Rees

Composer: Classical composers with mostly Henryk Gorecki's themes from his Symphony No. 3

Starring: Samuel West, Linda Ellerbee, Linda Hunt, Horst-Gunter Marx, Klaus Mikoleit, Grazyna Blecka-Kolska, Klaus Michal Zejdler

More info: IMDb

Plot:  This six-part series tells the story of the Auschwitz Death Camp, site of the largest mass murder in the history of the world. Writer Laurence Rees and his team interviewed over 100 eyewitnesses, including former Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their story is brought to life through the innovative use of archived footage, dramatic recreations of key moments, computer reconstructions based on recently discovered plans of the camp, and their extraordinary testimony.

My rating: 9.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

No matter how much I know about this subject, there's always a lot more to learn.  This 6 part, near 5 hour BBC documentary has to be the definitive on Auschwitz.  Through numerous methods (CGI, dramatic recreations, interviews with survivors and Nazis, etc) the film makers take us on a journey from start to finish, encompassing a spectrum of angles and details on how this camp became the most notorious site of death in the history of mankind.  It's very well handled.  It looks great, the material is frank and honest but treated with respect and the music selections are beautifully used even if some of the often used themes get a little old when you watch every episode close together.  I highly recommend but watch DIE WANNSEEKONFERENZ (1984) or the English remake, CONSPIRACY (2001), first.  There are countless films out there on this but I feel that these two offer the most insightful experience you could hope for outside of including a trip to the camps themselves afterward.  So what keeps me from giving this a solid 10/10?  The music.  For as much as I like the selections chosen, they're all used to elicit a somber emotion.  The material on it's own is enough to do that.  I'm not sayin' they could slap on a dixieland tune and you'd still feel bad, but you get the idea.

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