Company: Martini Entertainment / Olive Films
Starring: Uwe Boll, Steffen Mennekes, Arved Birnbaum
Plot: Product Description: Filmmaker Uwe Boll’s Auschwitz is a daring docu-drama depicting the atrocities of the Holocaust set inside of the most notorious of concentration camps. Combining archival footage, dramatic reenactments and current on-camera interviews, the film attempts to provide the viewer with an understanding of the “how” and “why” of such genocide. Bookended with an introduction by the provocative director and interviews with a number of high school teens quizzed on their knowledge of Auschwitz and the Holocaust, Boll provides a sobering perspective on a powerful, compelling and tragic piece of world history.
My Review and Thoughts:
This can be looked at in three different ways. One being a Uwe Boll film, one being an exploration into a moment of history, or an exploitation in violence. I had been wanting to see this film for many years. This is the first time it's officially, had a release in America. Martini Entertainment, a Division of Olive Films, has brought this to DVD for fans of Boll, or fans of history through visual exploration. This is a different approach to the history lesson of the Holocaust. Any movie lover will know that Boll is a controversial director that never hides his violent imagery in films. Boll has never watered down his films, and most of his films are exploitative in the disturbing reality, just for the nature of being disturbing.
There are no heroes. No good guys. No savior. This is nothing but slaughter, and the cattle is human. The setting is during the holocaust. Something I feel as Boll states introducing this film, that Hollywood, and film makers, always tend to wrap the horrible subject of the Holocaust around a savior, or aspect of someone saving, or stepping into help. Yes these heroes and saviors happened, but in most regards, and most moments of the holocaust, there was no hero's, or saviors, millions died. This is an unflinching brutality. And this is an eye opening experience. The darkest reality of evil is to forget the truth of what happened, and to not teach the real reality of the Holocaust and WW2. Now I don't mean that this is historically sound, what I mean is, it's a film that shows the brutality, and the simple matter of fact way, of cattle being led to slaughter, as if no big deal, accept the cattle was human beings. This film showcases that. There is no grand story, no brilliant acting, no award worthy cinema shots, it's just Nazi's, Jews, and murder.
This is a mixed film, part Documentary, part real footage of the concentration camps, and part fictional drama. This starts out with Boll explaining why he did this. Then you witness some teenagers being interviewed about the Holocaust. This reality is an eye opening experience in showcasing just how unlearned many of the population is about WW2, and the Holocaust. The graphic content that becomes this film is a back burner, because listening to these kids is more shocking in how they explain, or talk about the Holocaust. One might simply say these kids are stupid, but it's not their fault, it's the grownups, and the school system, and the government that is stupid, and inhuman in not teaching, and explaining, and making sure the holocaust is never forgotten. Then you move onto a dramatized, moments of the Jews in the Trains, then undressing, and led into the shower where you witness the gassing. You also get moments of shootings, and Nazi’s going about their work leading the people to the slaughter. It’s a simple film, part documentary, and part dramatized mayhem, but it is a film that can stir emotions within the watcher, and if it doesn’t, then you might want therapy.
I think what makes this film significant is the nonchalant way the violence is depicted. The showers which was the gas chambers. The shooting of children. There is a shot when an SS Guard played wonderfully by actor Steffen Mennekes, and an SS Commander played wonderfully by actor Arved Birnbaum, talking and drinking, and in the back ground, you can here screaming, people being shot like it’s no big reality. Another shot of a Nazi which is played by Uwe Boll himself, is eating a sandwich as he is making the Jews undress and leading them into the gas chambers. There he stands against the door, eating while the Jews are screaming, and pounding on the door as the gas slowly kills them. You see people have the unlearned reality that the gas killed quickly, it didn't. It could take over 10 minutes to fully kill certain persons, and even longer.
Starring Steffen Mennekes who is and has been a stable in Boll’s vast career of films. As of this writing he has been in 8 of Boll’s films. Mennekes is a great actor and is able to create his characters in a believable way. His characters no matter how weird or different they are, they come across as real. He plays the Nazi SS Guard in Auschwitz with unflinching realism and sadistic nonchalant reality. Also equally entertaining and brilliant is Arved Birnbaum who plays the SS Commander. He too has been in many of Boll’s films. He is an amazing performer and has been in many films that his characters stand out. A constant performer that never falters.
Love him, or hate him, Boll is a film maker, and never lets up in the extreme department. He knows how to push the buttons and display a story in his style of film making. I really liked being able to finally see this, and Olive Films did a great job bringing this out for the fans of Boll, or those who are just curious. Its 73 minutes long. 73 minutes of brutality. Written, produced and directed, and starring Boll. This is a film that many won’t like, and many will find brutal.
Some will find compelling, and some will find eye opening. As one watches you can tell many of the people they use for the Jews, or victims are not actors, and the emotions of choking reactions, seem staged, or fake at times. I think that is one of the down falls’ to this film, is the cheesy moments at times. Specifically the shower shots. This moment is pivotal in showcasing the brutality, but also moments that cause the viewer to be turned off, not for the violence, but the acting.
As I have stated for diehard fans of Boll films, this is a must see, and for those who want a different take on the holocaust, then this is a must. I think the strongest parts of the film is the interviews with the kids at the start, and at the end. We have to educate about history, for if we forget, we are doomed to repeat, and genocide is still going on today across the world.
Genocide, is in many forms, all across history, and even now in parts of the world. Auschwitz is a film that warrants a viewing for the reality that these teenage kids, persons, don’t know about the holocaust. There are spots in the world you can mention Hitler, and they praise him, and to me, that is unbelievable.
This was filmed in a darker toned setting and that reality plays off by the excellent DVD by Olive Films. The sound is crisp and works as you listen to the horrible reactions of the victims in the background as the film unfolds on screen.
Screen: 1.78:1, Color
I personally feel this is something that should be seen. Olive Films took it upon themselves to bring this controversial film to DVD. They aced it, and I feel it's worthy of a watch, and a buy, but I also warn, that this is disturbing on many levels. I think it’s a different viewpoint on this horrible moment in history. I think it is an eye opening experience even with its flaws. I think this is a great exploratory conversation piece, and is something that can be used in a group setting, or for a history buff in showcasing the teenagers of the day being interviewed and how wrong, and confused, and different beliefs, and truths are about.
It will be released on May 26th 2015.
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