Hard to Watch

I recently read an interesting book about lessons we can learn from the movies.  Here is an excerpt from the book regarding the movie Schindler’s List:

From one generation to the next, my father told me the story [of the holocaust], and I, in turn, told it to my children.  One of the ways my wife and I told them was through the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, the all-but-forgotten story of the heroic efforts of the Danish people to evacuate seven thousand Jews to safety in Sweden.  Another way was through a Symphony of Remembrance we took them to, which displayed some of the prison garb, some of the art, and some of the personal belongings of those who perished in the camps.  Another way was through the movie Schindler’s List.  A difficult call for a parent, but that is the call we made, and I believe that for our family it was a good call.

It is a hard movie to watch.  It should be hard.  The subject demands it to be hard.  It also demands we look and not turn away.  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn explains why:  “The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.  Both are endowed with the miraculous power to communicate–despite differences in language, custom, and social structure–the experience of the entire nation to another nation which has not undergone such a difficult decades-long collective experience.  In a fortunate instance, this could save an entire nation from a redundant, or erroneous, or even destructive course, thereby shortening the tortuous paths of human history.” [Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, East and West, pg. 19]

Someone once said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Conversely, those who remember history are constrained to redeem it.  For remembrance delivers a nation from repeating the sins of previous nations.

–Ken Gire, Reflections on the Movies, pg. 184-185


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