The major writing/research assignment for this course is the Holocaust Movie review. You are required to select a movie (the terms are interchangeable) that centers on a person, place or event that occurred during the Holocaust.
For the purpose of the study we will expand on Saul Friedlaender’s classic work Nazi Germany and the Jews. Friedlaender divides the Holocaust into two distinct eras – The Years of Persecution, 1933 – 1939 and the Years of Extermination, 1939 – 1945. We will add a third – The Aftermath, 1945 – Present. Your selection must belong in one of those eras.
In reviewing a film from the viewpoint of history, rather than entertainment, here are the sort of questions you should aim to answer.
- What seems to be accurate in the film? What sources are you using to assess accuracy?
- In what ways does the film impact your reading of any of the documents you have read.
- What liberties does the film take with the past? Why?
- Is the film primarily entertainment, or is it really trying to work within a historical period? How can you determine the film maker’s intention?
- What, if any, modern point is the film trying make?
In writing your review, keep in mind that you are not writing a report. Do not merely state what the movie is about. A review is your opinion of whether the movie is good or bad based on the following criteria: bias, movie design, educational value, and historical accuracy. These issues are all discussed in greater depth on the backside of this page.
In talking about your view of this movie, it is critical to keep in mind that entertainment value is important, but not the key criteria. While a boring movie might not keep your attention, a movie rife with false details does not teach you true history. Another point to think about is whether the movie makes you want to learn more about that particular subject. In determining a movie as “bad” or “good” take all factors into consideration.