The Holocaust is undoubtedly one of the most horrifying events in history. The mass murder of more than eleven million people, six million of them Jews, has left its mark on history and should never be forgotten. The events and the history of the Holocaust are presented in two very different ways in the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and in the movie The Pianist.
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a historical drama film, which attempts to show the horrors of the concentration camps through the eyes of an eight-year-old German boy named Bruno and an eight-year old Jewish boy names Shmuel. The Pianist is a film based on Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoir of life during the time of the holocaust. Both attempt to show the atrocities committed by the Nazi Regime, but the attempts to do so are done in very different ways. I found it difficult to make many comparisons between the two movies, but one of the comparisons that can easily be made is the element of obscurity in each situation in the opening scenes. Szpilman is Jewish and is forced to sit around a radio with his family and wait for further instructions from the Nazi regime deciding his family’s fate. Bruno on the other hand, the son of a Nazi officer, is forced to relocate from Berlin to the countryside with his family so that his father can help run one of the concentration camps. Though the each movie attempts to capture events that took place during the time of the Holocaust, many aspects of the movies are extremely different. I would argue that The Pianist is a much more educational representation of the Holocaust as compared to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which is more of a Hollywood movie with the setting of the Holocaust. Even thought only one was supported by authentic historical events, both movies had a powerful impact on their viewers.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has repeatedly been called a children’s film, and I would argue that it is significantly less graphic that The Pianist. The two main child characters are Bruno, the son of a Nazi party member, and Shmuel who is inside the concentration camp. These characters, because they are so young, represent innocence in such a dark time of history. I found the film to be more emotional than some of the others we have watched, but that is because I got to see a side of the Holocaust that I had not seen in other movies. One major criticism of this film, and its representation of historical events, is the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel’s characters. It seems almost impossible that two boys would be able to form a friendship on either side of a barbed wire fence.
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