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    $134.99 $105.15 list($149.99)
    1. Shoah
    $14.99 $14.59 list($19.98)
    2. Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition)
    $11.21 $9.57 list($14.95)
    3. Judgment at Nuremberg
    $18.89 $15.88 list($26.98)
    4. Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)
    $14.99 $13.98 list($19.99)
    5. Life Is Beautiful
    $26.24 $22.34 list($34.98)
    6. Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State
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    7. Conspiracy
    $89.96 $74.75 list($99.95)
    8. Heritage - Civilization and the
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    9. Anne Frank - The Whole Story
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    10. Crimes and Misdemeanors
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    11. The Sorrow and the Pity
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    12. The Pianist (Widescreen Edition)
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    13. Annie Hall
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    14. Blazing Saddles
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    15. Schindler's List (Full Screen
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    16. The Garden Of The Finzi Continis
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    17. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
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    18. Europa Europa
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    19. Shanghai Ghetto
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    20. The Man Who Cried

    1. Shoah
    list price: $149.99
    our price: $134.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JM8V
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 9711
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bearing Witness To History
    Watching the 9.5 hour documentary Shoah one goes through a plethora or emotions: sadness, anger and finally triumph. Shoah is living history one that we will no likely to be able to repeat as time goes on.

    Claude Lanzmann gives us a history of the Holocaust from the point of view of the participants. The survivors, the guards, the townspeople who witnessed the Final Solution firsthand. The thing that makes the film amazing is that we do not see the grisly images that were so prevalent in films like Renais Night and Fog. We simply hear voices and see faces.

    The interview technique is what makes this film so important. We are forced to look into these people's faces as they tell their stories. And they do have important stories to tell. Also we literally visit the places of destruction as they are now. We see green meadows that were once killing grounds like Sobibor or Chelmno. We see the village of Grabow now reduced of its Jewish population; we bear witness to the railside horrors of Treblinka, and the haunting desolation that was and is Auschwitz.

    The startling thing is that the people of the film have been able to rebuild their lives and go on. This is the triumph of the film. We hear horrible things to be sure but these people are true survivors.

    The DVD does not offer many extras, but then not many are needed. The end result is a sort of numb silence and this prevades the viewing. The transfer could have been a little clearer but I feel that this was more of a flaw in the source footage than a problem in the DVD creation. The only real problem with my set was on the fourth disc where there were numerous sound fall outs.

    All in all Shoah is not an easy film to watch. It takes patience and careful listening if one is to truly understand but it should be regarded as essential viewing for any would be student of history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, devastating testimony
    I saw Shoah on PBS around the mid-80's and have never forgotten the experience. The documentary was shown in weekly installments. At first, I was just curious, but then I was drawn by the powerful testimony I was witnessing. I remember that while watching the last installments, I was weeping over the depravity and evil that was discussed by the aged survivors. At that time I was a Staff Sergeant with 15 years military service. We are tempted to turn away from the horrendous images and ignore the Holocaust as an anomaly or as something best left in the past. We want to move on. But listening to the stories and watching the faces of the survivors I knew that I must listen very carefully. I must not miss one moment of their testimony. Neither can you. Listen, watch, and learn what evil men can do to fellow man. It's a long, long film but it must be seen in its entirety.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Documentary about the Holocaust
    This first aired on PBS sometime in the early to mid eighties. I was in my first couple of years of college at the time. As many of you can relate, I had lots of fun in school (especially after classes)and didn't watch much TV. For whatever reason I was at home when the first installment aired and I was hooked. Being in college, I wasn't too much of a history buff and knew little about the Holocaust. I would come home early from parties just to get to see the next installment. Since that time I have always wanted to see the documentary again and now can say I have bought it and will watch it (this time with my wife) soon.
    I had the opportunity to visit Munich some time back and didn't miss the chance to visit Dachau. Wow! What an experience... one that I shall never forget. I think watching the show this time will mean so much more than before. Make sure you get lots of Kleenex before you sit down to watch a segment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing document !
    A very important, powerful, strong and
    not an easy watch Holocust documentary.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best made movie about the Holocaust
    It's been 17 years since I watched this movie in a hotel room in Munich on German television. Since that time Hollywood has made their own Holocaust movies, the latest being "The Pianist." By far , "Shoah" is the most meaningful movie that was made about the Holocaust. The shear hypocrisy of the Nazi's false promise to every death camp inmate of "Arbeit Macht Frei" is revealed through the words of the apathetic hypocrits who watched from the sidelines.

    It answers the question: Why could this global tragedy happen? It also answers the question: Who were these people who committed the atrocities and where were all the people who bore witness?

    The movie asks these questions of the real people who we want to know the answers from. Mr. Lanzman interviews the wife of a concentration camp commandant. Her attitude and her carefully chosen words speak volumes for what she doesn't say. She embodies evil to the nth degree. Her lack of empathy and gross disdain for the 10,000s of Jews that her husband murdered makes you sick to your stomach. And yet she is not guilty of anything more than being an accessory to mass murder and she has never spent a day of her life paying for the sins of her husband. She complains that her life after the war has been hard on her. She wants our pity.

    Mr. Lanzman interviews a peasant who lived along the rail line to Birkenau and Auschwitz. The jolly old peasant was proud of how he gesticulated to the hapless souls in the packed railcars how they would have their throats slit soon enough. The peasant made fun of how he convinced many a desparate Jew to throw him their jewelry in exchange for a cup of water - only to not give the Jew the promised water.

    There is no ray of hope. There is no triumph of good over evil. There is only the sheer will power and determination of the few survivors that now live in comfortable flats in Israel, the United States and other parts of the world. After the war, they picked themselves by their bootstraps and mentally blocked the horrors that befell upon them by the Nazis and they succeeded to live their lives.

    The conclusion I draw from this movie is to remain forever vigilant. Evil is banal. Evil can be overwhelming. Only a clear conscience, an open mind and a consistent collective voice against the darkness of evil will we keep men like Adolf Hitler from propagandizing his fellow countrymen and women into similar acts of atrocity. ... Read more


    2. Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition)
    Director: Norman Jewison
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005N7YZ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 256
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (90)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best contextual musical ever
    Norman Jewison's "Fiddler On the Roof" is the story of a poor milkman living in tsarist Russia, which in the outskirts of Russia. This is one of the most original musicals, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem. Played by Chaim Topol and Norma Crane as Tevye and Golde, the acting of this role of parents of five daughters in an orthodox Jewish family is done brilliantly. Tevye's misquotings of the bible is hilarious. The songs in the movie are outstanding and poignant. Starting from the beginning with "Tradition", with violinist Isaac Stern doing his magic, every song has its uniqueness.

    Each of his three older daughters choose a different path. The first one refuses to marry the person chosen by the father as she in love with the tailer Motel. The way Tevye cons his wife into agreeing for this wedding is one of the funniest pieces of the movie. The characters chosen are unique and beautifully portrayed. The song before this, "Matchmaker, matchmaker" is beautiful. The way Yente, the matchmaker looks at the youngest daughters as though they were caravans wares is extremely funny. The second daughter Tseitel chooses the revolutionary who is against the Tsar and wishes communism. The song in the bar "To life, Le Chaim" is unusual and shows the way the Jews and the Christians can get along in a limited manner. The third daughter chooses a gentile.

    Though this is a musical, the acting, story and the character portrayal is deep. Songs range from comic like "If I were a rich man", to haunting, "Sunrise, sunset", to sad and lonely, "Little bird". Though being Jewish will help one understand this movie better, it is not a necessity. The screenplay is wonderful. The particular one that I like is when Avraham comes and tells that there are bad things going on in the world. Another person says, "Why should I break my head about the outside world, let the outside world break its own head". Here Tevye says, "He is right, if you spit in the air, it lands in your face." Then the revolutionary says, "Nonsense, you cannot be blind to what happens outside." Then Tevye says, "You know, he is also right." At this time Avraham points to the revolutionary and the other person and says, "He is right and he is right, they can't both be right." Now Tevye looks at Avraham and says, "You know, you are also right."

    When the Jews are evicted, it is extremely sad. They console themselves saying that their village Anatevka was not exactly the garden of Eden. This song, "Anatevka", is sad and heartbreaking. They have so little but still love it. It reminds one that happiness is something of the inside and has nothing to do with material possessions. This movie is a classic and a timeless masterpiece. It might be difficult for some people to understand due to the history of Tsarist Russia and its pogroms and the context, otherwise, to date it is my favorite musical.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest musicals of all time...
    Fiddler on the Roof is a cinematic masterpiece. Originally a musical, this movie is an amazing adaptation that remains faithful to the original, while at the same time not making it seem "theatrical" to the point where it looks contrived. The characters are played perfectly with Topol (who plays Tevye, the poor village milkman) taking the highest honors.

    Fiddler on the Roof is simply a timeless story, even if it finds itself placed in czarist Russia. The story revolves around Tevye, a poor Jew living in Russia and his struggle to stay true to his faith (and ideals) in a world that is rapidly changing. This film follows Tevye in his journey to meld his rich Jewish past with the modern world that surrounds him. His arguments with himself ("On the other hand,...") are priceless and allow us to relate with Tevye as he struggles with his heritage (the pogroms), his financial status ("If I Were a Rich Man") and his family (his daughters are entering marrying age).

    Ths music is wonderful. The songs are poignant and easily remembered. I guarantee that you'll wind up singing/humming "Tradition" or "If I Were a Rich Man" days after watching the movie. The movie itself is humourous at times, and sorrowful the next and the storyline is deep, but is not a damning social commentary. The cinematics are also extraordinary, with the film being shot "on location" in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

    This is an ideal family movie, and I can remember watching (and loving) this movie at an early age. I'm glad I purchased this movie for my DVD collection, as it will become one of my most watched (and sung to) films. The box comes with only a single DVD, but is double-sided and contains additional footage, an additional song (cut at production) and a commentary on the movie itself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fiddler on the Roof
    IT was absolutely amazing. Everything about it! The backround and effects were amaxing and it was a very touching story with absolutely wonderful actors and unforgetable songs. SPECTACULAR!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, except for the cover art
    I love this movie, but was highly dissaponted with the ugly cover art design. They should have stuck to the original poster art. Anyways, the music is great, and it is good to see such movies being restored on DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of all musicals.
    I agree with HeadbangerDuh in every sense. This is the best of musicals. While some other musicals amy be corny, boring, and downright dumb, Fiddler shows humor, interest, and is educational. Although part one is funnier, part two I feel is richer, and more full, not as goofy. This is probably the best film of the century. ... Read more


    3. Judgment at Nuremberg
    Director: Stanley Kramer
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $11.21
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    Asin: B0002CR04A
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1505
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (30)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Star-Studded Recounting of Legendary Nazi Trials
    This star-studded film vividly captures the characters on all 3 sides of the spectrum: The accused, the victims, and the international tribunal judging the perpetrators of unspeakable atrocities against fellow human beings. It is shocking to see how many of the people responsible for the gruesome deaths of millions justified their actions.

    After hearing witnesses who often were tortured, mamed by sadistic doctors, and had their loved ones murdered, I can not grasp the fact that the majority of those on trial were released after serving minimal prison terms. Some of them are still among us, while millions of victims lie in their graves at the hands of an evil minority!

    Stellar performances by an International cast. Most noteworthy are Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland as testifying victims, Maximilian Schell as Prosecutor (Oscar Winner), Marlene Dietrich as wife of a defendant, and an elderly Spencer Tracy, trying to make sense of it all.

    Effective use of B&W photography, first rate sets and costumes, along with many other production values, make this a timeless Classic. Although considerd over-long by some, I recommend this film to be shown to high school classes as a reminder that these things happened in a not so distant past.*****

    5-0 out of 5 stars SCHELL, TRACY, GARLAND, LANCASTER, CLIFT & WIDMARK GREAT!
    This is a superb film by Stanley Kramer with an unbelievably great cast at the height of their craft. Each of the legendary actors were at the top of their performances in the reinactment of the Judge's Trial at Nuremberg. The world was tired of the Nuremberg trials. This one was a mopping up operation. Against a backdrop of an escalating Cold War with the Soviet Union, the selling out of justice by prominent Nazi judges serving the Third Reich is put on trial. Spencer Tracey plays Judge Dan Haywood, a retired Maine circuit court judge brought out of mothballs to serve as the chief justice. Amazingly, the usual action actor Burt Lancaster plays the top Nazi judge who at first does not recognize the Nuremberg tribunal's authority to judge him. For some mysterious reason, critics over the years failed to acknowledge the tremendous acting job he did in convincingly carrying off what was perhaps this film's most dynamic character change. However, my personal favorite was Maximillian Schell whose quintessential Germanic Hans Rolfe, the defense attorney released the full range of this incredible actor's virtuosity. For this he deservedly won an Academy Award Oscar.

    One thousand words are not enough to celebrate this timeless film: Judy Garland (in perhaps her last film role) delivers a heartbreaking middle aging Irene Hoffman, reliving her experiences of Nazi cruelty on the witness stand; once again. However, not very good was the young Canadian actor, William Shatner playing Army Captain Byers, the aide de camp to Judge Haywood (Tracy). [The Starship Enterprise didn't seem to improve Shatner's skills any.] Richard Widmark (the moody, hostile prosecutor) and Montgomery Clift [who begged for the role he was willing to play without pay!] were excellent. Clift plays a slightly retarded German laborer, sterilized by Nazi doctors because of his mental slowness. This is among the very best films made by Kramer in the decade of the 1960s. Amazingly, it was released one year after INHERIT THE WIND, another Tracy-Kramer classic!

    5-0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE
    What happens when Stanley Kramer teams Tracy, Dietrich, Garland, Schell, Clift, Lancaster and Widmark in a drama based on the trials in pos-war Nuremberg??? It`s vintage Hollywood; still 1 IF not THE BEST about the horrors from World War II ..... The film should be in every school-library across the world

    5-0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE
    What happens when Stanley Kraner teams Tracy, Dietrich, Garland, Schell, Clift, Lancaster and Widmark in a drama based on the trials in pos-war Nuremberg??? It`s vintage Hollywood; still 1 IF not THE BEST about the horrors from World War II ..... The film should be in every school-library across the world

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wooooooooow
    Ok, you`ll get Garland, Dietrich, Clift, Tracy, Widmark & Schell - the production headed by Stanley Kramer.... the result is pure Hollywood vintage combined with horrors from the 2nd World War??? But indeed; it is a masterpiece.... It should be in every school-library all over the world:-) ... Read more


    4. Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Steven Spielberg
    list price: $26.98
    our price: $18.89
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    Asin: B00012QM8G
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 494
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (495)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece!
    Meet Oskar Schindler. A German living in occupied Poland during World War II. A member in good standing of the Nazi party. A womanizer, a war profiteer...and ultimately a man of conscience. A man who became one of the great unsung heroes and humanitarians of the war.

    "Schindler's List" chronicles Oskar Schindler's spiritual odyssey from war profiteer to humanitarian and hero. Winner of seven Academy Awards® in 1993, including Best Picture, this harrowing and heart-rending film is Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, and perhaps one of the finest and most important movies ever made. It depicts Schindler's ultimately successful attempt to rescue 1,100 Jews from Hitler's "Final Solution" by getting them to safety outside Poland.

    Dynamic performances abound in this beautiful movie, Especially noteworthy are Liam Neeson as the suave Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as the monstrously depraved Nazi colonel, Amon Goeth, and Ben Kingsley as the dignified, principled Jewish prisoner Itzhak Stern.

    "Schindler's List" is definitely not light entertainment! This beautiful movie allows viewers to feel like they're actually a part of one of the darkest, most horrific periods in history. (I'm sure this is the reason the film was shot in black-and-white, with only minor "colorized" bits included.) The story of the Holocaust needs to be told over and over again, in hopes that future generations can understand the horrors perpetrated on an entire race of people and prevent future occurrences. "Schindler's List" is perhaps one of the best and most effective vehicles for telling that story I've ever experienced.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Whoever Saves One Life Saves the World Entire!
    That's the tagline of Steven Spielberg's 1993 holocaust epic, SCHINDLER'S LIST (a film that has inspired me with my own film, TRIANGLE). What is this film? A documentary? A memorial service? A biopic? The answer is all of the above. It is a realistic look at a man who began as a womanizing criminal and ended as a sympathetic savior to thousands of Jewish people.

    Based on Thomas Keneally's bestselling novel, it is passionate look at the Jewish struggle during the ghetto liquidation by the Nazis and in the concentration camps.

    Filmed entirely on location in Poland and in black-and-white, with some color aspects, SCHINDLER'S LIST brings to life one of the saddest chapters in history. Starring Liam Neeson as industrialist Oskar Schindler; Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth; Ben Kingsley as Schindler's accountant Itzhak Stern; and Caroline Goodall as Schindler's wife, Emilie.

    This is a film too sad to imagine, but also very important to watch and shameful to miss. Neeson does an extraordinary job in showing us the man who saved so many lives. A man whom most would call a pirate, he has shown us a brighter light. But, honestly, the one who impressed me (and shocked me the most) was Ralph Fiennes as a Nazi superior. Fiennes was known for playing romantic heroes on the London stage before playing such a dastardly role. (In the end, you can't help but cheer when he is eventually hanged.) And to Ben Kingsley (Oscar-winner for GANDHI), always the dependable one! His Stern provided me enough time to breathe a sign of relief and smile at his nervously mousy character. From his being trapped inside the train to his trying to reason with Schindler about the one-arm man's dependability working in the factory (a rare comedic moment in the film).

    This is a triumph in every way possible! To watch a man, whom we never even heard of, save thousands of lives is heart-breakingly wonderful. Good job, Steven!

    Winner of 7 Academy Awards including: Best Picture - Steven Spielberg, Branko Lustig & Gerald R. Molen; Best Director - Steven Spielberg; Best Adapted Screenplay - Steven Zaillian; Best Cinematography - Janusz Kaminski; Best Art Direction/Set Decoration - Allan Starski, Ewa Braun; Best Score - John Williams; and Best Film Eediting - Michael Kahn.

    Approximately: 3 HOURS and 17 MINUTES

    5-0 out of 5 stars **Schindler's List **
    This film from Steven Spielberg was shot in black and white and is very effective as a film to portray what happened to the Jews in Germany/Poland etc.. from the ghettos to the concentration camps. The film is very realistic in its portrayal and the environment of that time in history of the 1930's and 1940's. This is a film that you may only want to watch once. It is an excellent film. The acting is very good, the reality of the killings is very graphic. The cinematography is excellent. The only reason I think that is a film to viewed once or twice in one's life is due to the depressing nature of the film. I think it is a film that younger generations (teenagers and some people in their 20's) should see because many are coming out of school without even knowing who Adolf Hitler was and what he had done. I think it's important that they see what occurred so a repeat of history does not happen. This is an important film, but not necessarily one you want to view over and over again.

    Some other reviewers on this forum start bringing up that "other genocides occurred in history" and how come only this one is made into a film. I'm afraid folks that Spielberg didn't make an all encompassing film to include all of the past atrocities that happened in the past 1000 years. He focused just on the Holocast. Also it is just pure ignorance to deny that 5-6 million Jewish civilians were killed/murdered. Even if it was 10,000 Jews, it does not make it any better. It doesn't really matter if they were Jews or any other religion. The fact is that 6 million PEOPLE who were civilians were murdered. They were Germans, Polish, French and many other nationalities. It just happened they were of the Jewish faith that was targeted by the Nazis(Jews were used as a scapegoat to blame all of Germany's economic ills as a country on. The Nazis also killed and murdered gypsies too. The people (men, women and children) killed were white people (Jewish is not a race. It is a religion).
    Actual documentation of what the Nazi's did is on film shot by British news cameras as the American and British soldiers entered these concentration camps throughout 1945. Disease was rampant in these camps due to all the mass graves and thousands of bodies that were left to rot (by the Germans) as the British bulldozers needed to bury these corpses. My father and grandfather were in the 2nd World War as part of the American and British invasion of Germany and witnessed it first hand. That's enough proof as far as I am concerned. Yes. Not all Germans were bad people, but there were enough of them to throw the world into a World War in 1939 and to allow this to go on just a few miles from their towns and villages.

    This is a good film. Good coverage of a very bad time in world history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best Special Edition one can expect, but still...
    Although this 5 time Academy Award winning film certainly gets a beautiful presentation on disc, I both do and do not understand the complaining of the DVD presentation of Schindler's List. But first, let me discuss the benefits of the disc first.

    The picture here is impressive, although there are noticeable flaws. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture showcases excellent detail and rich black levels; at times the picture looked so good I thought that the movie was remastered by Lowery Digital Services. But then minor flaws show up, such as excessive grain and minor print flaws (such as in the sequence where Schindler Jews are calling out their names, I spotted a vertical line). Flaws aside, the picture is still beautiful and Janusz Kaminski's photography is put to good use here.

    The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Surround. All Dolby and DTS tracks give a sense of place to the film, and while the tracks aren't bass-heavy, they fit the movie's tone perfectly. It demonstrates excellent stereo separation and bass response, all the while not calling attention to itself. The two-sided disc cuts down on cost, and the menus allow one to access each part of the DVD with considerable ease. (The movie is also given French and Spanish spoken languages and subtitles, while the extras have optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.)

    Now, the disadvantages. I know people were expecting an extras-packed version of this movie, but we only have two real extras included; the "Voices From the List" Featurette and "Behind the Shoah Visual Foundation" Featurette. Both are good extras detailing the various stories recounted by actual Schindler Jews, and while these are substantial enough, I had the feeling more could've been added. If Spielberg were to do commentaries, I would appreciate one done for this film, and the addition of the theatrical trailer would help too. Inclusion of those two extras would've added much more to the DVD.

    Still, quibble about the extras aside, the disc release of this film gives newcomers a chance to be introduced to one of Spielberg's greatest cinematic achievements ever made, with great picture and sound. It may not always be easy viewing, but the impact it leaves is indelible and unforgettable. For fans of Spielberg's work and this movie, this disc is a must-have, despite the slim extras. (If you're intent on having more, the gift set is a viable option. Along with the DVD, it also includes a booklet, the movie's soundtrack CD, certificate of authenticity, a photo still book and a Plexiglas keep case.)

    1-0 out of 5 stars History repeating it's self?
    Why don't we hear about other genocides, like the ones in Russia and Turkey that inspired the German one? The movie was so distorted and stereotypical it's ridicules. The nazi's weren't all-bad and the Jews weren't all good. Jews aren't as innocent as they are portrayed. This could be due to Hollywood being monopolized by them. See how much trouble Mel Gibson had when he tried make a movie that portrayed Jews as less than perfect. If they had really went through all that trauma, why would they go to Palestine and commit the same atrocities only decades before to the Arabs? Schindler's List is just one of the yearly Jewish propaganda films that are thrown at us, like the pianist for ex. And worst of all, every year schools have to show this movie to young children. And Disney show's this movie every yr on the wonderful world of Disney. Why is this gruesome movie targeted at kids I have no idea. "so we won't forget the past my A**" ... Read more


    5. Life Is Beautiful
    Director: Roberto Benigni
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00001U0DP
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 602
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (540)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Astounding
    This movie has a very simple message and you read it in the title Life is Beautiful taking place during the holocaust in Italy no one could ever guess that this movie could be so touching and honest...Roberto Benigni who I believe won the Academy Award for his performance does the wonderful job in the role as a happy go lucky man who's whole life changes during the holocaust and it is up to Benigni to keep his family together...Another refreshing thing to see was the fact that this movie takes place in Italy during the holocaust and what is was really like for jewish families in Italy during the holocaust and very few history students know today that Italy was allies with Germany for a time...I love Benigni and enjoy watching his struggles and watching his love for his son and his wife. Why can't there be more guys like Benigi out there? The DVD features an English language track and of course English subtitles...I prefer the subtitles myself so I can get a real feel for the movie.I have been moved by this movie and you should rent or buy this movie for...by the end of this DVD you'll either be in tears or screaming life is beautiful!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Life is Beautiful, Movies can be Weird
    After skimming the reviews here, Roberto Benigni has obviously struck a chord with a lot of people.
    I would not argue with them but I found myself with the reviewer who called this film MR. BEAN GOES TO AUSCHWITZ. Actual history proved just too distracting for me to get caught up in this "fable."

    Actually, the film I kept thinking of has never been seen: Jerry Lewis' THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED. I've read the script and I can only imagine the reviews of that film if it was ever released! (Now there's a film in itself: a daffy but deranged filmmaker, popping pills and performing pratfalls, producing his movie about a German clown entertaining Jewish kids on their way to the ovens. Yikes.)

    LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL doesn't go that far, but I found myself constantly distracted by Benigni's rubbery slapstick taking place in a concentration camp. Yeah, it's sweet that he wants to spare his son the horrors of the camp...but they're in a camp, a concentration camp.
    The first half of the film actually plays like a whimsical, slightly-more-witty Jerry Lewis movie. Then the Nazis arrive. Individual scenes manage to touch and charm, but overall it just feels very odd.

    Jerry Lewis must have gone nuts when Benigni won the Best Actor Academy Award (William Goldman, the sage of screenwriters, certainly did in print by saying this was the greatest Oscar abomination since THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH won Best Picture in the 1950s). I admit I was put off at Benigni's antics at the Oscars--"I LUFF YOU, I LUFF YOU ALL, I MAKE LUFF TO YOU ALL!" I can't even picture Jerry Lewis carrying on that much if he'd won Best Actor for THE BELLBOY. Now that I think about it, maybe he would....

    Yes, movies are a great escape from reality--but there are some realities that shouldn't be part of that escape.
    We have new generations of kids coming up who are quite removed from the terrifying reality of the Holocaust and the near-slapstick version of it portrayed in LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL could diminish the true horror of it.
    That heaviness, that memory, made buying into the humor nearly impossible.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "I want to make love to all of hollywood"
    The pride of Italy Roberto Benini in his WWII masterpiece, tastefully combining comedy with drama in an oscar winning foreign film. A must have. Make sure you watch it in Italian with the subtitles.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ETMR - Life is Beautiful
    1. Humanity: How does Guido express the human quality of endurance?

    2. Implications: Life is Beautiful expresses the need for family strength. What does this mean for today?

    3. Evolution: Life is Beautiful employs a style that is at first jarring to watch, and then succeeds on its own as a force of comedy. How has this affected cinema since its release in 1998?

    4. Realism: Is the game Guido plays with his son feasible realistically?

    5. Stageplay: The basic story is one of a man trying to remain optimistic during a time of intense suffering. How does the light-heartedness of the plot change the realistic consequences of the Holocaust?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful film
    Never before has such a brilliant hybrid of comedy and the tradegy of war been so skillfully woven togen. The film, although disjointed slightly in its early stages, presents a delicate balance between the otrocities of the second world war and the genuine warmth and kindness of its protagonist. There are times when you will you laugh, others that you will feel deeply saddened by the plight of the characters, with the comfortable compromise reached at the film's conclusion leaving a pleasant after taste in spite of the circumstances. Brilliantly acted and filmed, Life is Beautiful presents a different take of what life was like in that dark period of history whilst leaving intact the integrity of the central themes and the brutality of war. This is a movie that can be enjoyed on multiple levels and is a worthy Oscar winner. ... Read more


    6. Auschwitz - Inside the Nazi State
    Director: Laurence Rees
    list price: $34.98
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    Asin: B000777JH8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 561
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    More than any previous documentary about the Holocaust, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State reveals the inner workings of the Nazi implementation of Hitler's infamous "final solution." Drawing on the latest academic discoveries, this remarkable BBC series presents a wide-ranging, meticulously researched biography of the titular "killing factory" and its evolution into a highly efficient location for industrialized extermination of well over one million Jews, gypsies, and other so-called "mongrel races" between 1940 and 1945. From "Surprising Beginnings" to "Liberation & Revenge," the six-chapter program chronicles the gradual process that escalated into the Holocaust, focusing its expansive European timeline on the detailed movements of preeminent (and highly corruptible) Holocaust engineers like Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Höss, and "death doctor" Josef Mengele. Through painstakingly authentic reenactments of crucial meetings including the Wannsee Conference (where the "final solution" was secretly devised), we see and hear the Nazi thought processes, built on virulent hatred and bigotry, that "justified" mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

    Subtle but exacting use of computer-animated effects allows three-dimensional exploration of newly discovered architectural plans and buildings long-ago destroyed, revealing the transformation of Auschwitz as World War II progressed. Along with rare archival footage, thorough documentation, and frank testimony from Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators (not all of them penitent about their crimes), these programs make expert use of commanding narration by Oscar®-winning actress Linda Hunt, who brings depth and gravitas to a grim litany of sobering facts and figures. The result is an all-encompassing portrait of Auschwitz unlike anything seen before, masterfully written and produced by Laurence Rees with equal parts tenacity, intelligence, and integrity, informed by an overriding sense of moral outrage that is entirely appropriate to the history being examined. It's a remarkable achievement, as important as Shoah as a definitive exploration of one of the darkest chapters in human history. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Explaining the Incomprehensible
    Movie: ***** DVD Transfer: *****Extras: *****

    A unique and highly informative 6-part documentary that examines the establishment and development of the Auschwitz-Birkenow concentration camp within the historical context of the Nazi's changing strategies and goals during the Second World War.Using historical photographs, filmed re-enactments, recent interviews with both survivors and perpetrators, and computer models based on recently discovered blueprints of the camp, the filmmakers painstakingly trace the evolution of Auschwitz from a detainee facility built to house Polish prisoners, to a forced labor camp, and finally, to an infamous and horrifyingly efficient factory devoted to mass murder.Brilliantly and movingly narrated by actress Linda Hunt (Oscar-winner for "The Year of Living Dangerously"), the 4-1/2 hour series is intellectually stimulating, educationally astonishing, and emotionally overwhelming as it attempts the almost impossible task of explaining the incomprehensible.That "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State" succeeds so well in its mission is a testament to the commitment and skill of the filmmakers.

    The DVD also includes a revealing interview with filmmaker Lawrence Rees, who produced the series; and a series of six short interview segments with Holocaust and genocide authorities, each of which is hosted by esteemed journalist Linda Ellerbee.These interviews, originally designed to air as companion pieces to the six parts of the documentary, are invaluable tools in providing modern day context to the lessons and legacy of Auschwitz, and a framework in which to consider the ongoing horror of genocide.Literate and immensely powerful, this 2-disc DVD set is most highly recommended viewing for those wishing to educate themselves about one of the darkest chapters in all of human history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars New Insight
    We actually borrowed this selection from our local library. You will find new insight into the development of auschwitz as a concept here, along with fascinating ( and often troubling ) interviews from actual survivors and Nazi SS personnel. Highly Recommended viewing-- not exceptionally gory or graphic, but extremely informative. This documentary stops short of discussing the details of the final horrific months of auschwitz history--- maybe there is a follow up documentary in the works.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing bonus features -- powerful questions and answers

    My only criticism of this amazing series is that there is so little mention of the murder of homosexuals and their experiences after liberation for those who survived. Many gay Holocaust survivors were denied compensation and acknowledgement by the German government by the end of the century because they were considered to be "ligitimately imprisoned."It is my understanding that this status changed only recently. Others served prison sentences for being gay that continued after they were liberated from Auschwitz. While the numbers are small in comparison to the vast number of Jewish prisoners that were murdered, the conversation about sexual persecution in the Nazi regime is crucial to appreciating their great intolerance and deconstructing their human "ideal". (See the film "Paragraph 175" on the Nazi persecution of homosexuals.)While the documentary Auschwitz-Inside the Nazi State is very strong, I'm recommending it because of the interviews with Linda Ellerbee that are included as part of the bonus features of the DVD.A lot of times when looking at material like this outside of a classroom or alone, one wishes to have some kind of discussion group or process around what has just been witnessed--to hear how others have attempted to interpret what seems beyond comprehension.I was impressed with the group of scholars that we heard from and there were many references to more contemporary genocides in Rwanda and the Sudan. (Again, a scholar on the experience of gays and political prisoners in concentration camps is absent.) I think this would be ideal for a classroom; specifically and most movingly, the testimonies of the students who speak to Ellerbee in the last interview.They have definitely put some thought into their responses and I could see students being inspired by their eloquence.Ellerbee says at the end, "You give me hope" and I felt the same way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent series
    This is an excellent BBC production on Auschwitz. Rees has managed to produce a series of programs aimed at a broad audience, but with a strong academic foundation. He avoids simple moral judgments by hearing different eyewitnesses, such as victims, perpetrators and bystanders. The series uses different kinds of sources, virtual reality and it uses actors to portray some of the key Nazis in the decision making process.It describes the history of the camp, but it does so much more. Individual stories bring the story to life without ever becoming over-emotional.It also pays attention to the importance of local decisions and sentiments for the fate of millions of people, such as local anti-Semitism but also rescue operations. Rees' series is not just on Auschwitz, it is a story of Europe and the Holocaust. In the last episode he even tells the story of the return of victims of the camp to their home country and the cold welcome they received.Personally I found the testimony of the former SS man who had worked in Auschwitz very telling. Rees is a brave man for portraying this man in his moral ambivalence.
    Strongly recommended. Also suitable for use in schools and education. It is also a far better introduction to the Holocaust than Lanzmann's film Shoah.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very In Depth
    I saw this documentary on our PBS channel over a period of 3 weeks.It was so well put together and really made the viewer understand what really happened over there. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has any interest what so ever in the Holocaust. ... Read more


    7. Conspiracy
    Director: Frank Pierson
    list price: $14.97
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    Asin: B00005YUO1
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 4470
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (49)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Nazis come up with the "Final Solution" over lunch
    "Conspiracy" is based on the original minutes of the Wannsee Conference held on January 20, 1942 in Berlin where the Nazi worked out "The Final Solution." The of this HBO production is something of a misdirection, because this hour long meeting that would result in the death of 6 million European Jews might have been secret, but it was not exactly clandestine. This is not a meeting where the participants made their plans in hushed whispers, but something that eerily smacks of a board meeting at a large company. These men were going to become mass murderers on a scale rarely seen in human history, but they seem more like bureaucrats than anything else, which is just another level of the horror involved here.

    "Conspiracy" goes beyond the recreation of this infamous meeting for the 1984 documentary "The Wannsee Conference," both of which are based upon the lone surviving record of the gather of 15 Nazi officers head by General Reinhard Heydrich (Kenneth Branagh). Included in the group are Lt. Colonel Adolf Eichmann (Stanley Tucci) and Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart, Interior Ministry (Colin Firth), and within an hour they come up with their solution to the "Jewish question." However, this is a sense in "Conspiracy" that they are not so much debating what it to be done but being asked to sign on to the plan that Heydrich is revealing directly and indirectly throughout the meeting in his quest for "unanimity."

    This time around the horror is in the details, as these men try to come up with the most efficient way of killing and disposing of that many people while one guy does the math. Given that we know what is going to happen what stands out are not those who cannot wait to start the killing as much as those who have "reservations." Stuckart, who wrote the Nuremberg codes, is aghast at what these new policies will mean for the rule of law in Nazi Germany, as the courts are filled with divorce cases separating Jewish and Aryan spouses. However, Struckart makes it clear he hates Jews as much as the next person at that table. Then there is Dr. Wilhelm Kritzinger (David Threlfall), Permanent Secretary of the Reich Chancellery, who obviously has misgivings on moral grounds, but ultimately can offer no more obstacle than a story, which serves as the final statement on the proceedings when related by Heydrich to Eichmann after the meeting.

    The end of the film, where we are informed as to what happened to the participants, is particularly interesting. I was surprised how few of these 15 Nazis were actually executed for war crime. Several of them would die during the war while others would be imprisoned, but a surprising number were released for lack of evidence. I was also interested to find out exactly who failed to destroy their copy of the minutes, although there is nothing particularly insightful about the revalation beyond satisfying my curiosity. In terms of Holocaust films "Conspiracy" a footnote to the mass exterminations, but of interest for what it provide in terms of rare insights into what the Nazi bureaucracy was actually thinking as it launched the "Final Solution."

    4-0 out of 5 stars Stands up to its subject matter
    An account of the Wannsee Conference, chaired by Reinhard Heydrich (Head of the Reich Security) on January 1942. This Conference was to be decisive in establishing the "Final Solution" - cause of the Holocaust. One copy of the proceedings was found by American investigators after WW2 and was made into two movies, "The Wannsee Conference" (a West German movie), and the American remake "Conspiracy".

    Any movie where we watch people talking for 90 minutes stands or falls on acting quality. Kenneth Branagh, as Heydrich, is excellent - the texture of his role is slick and darkly pleasant. The other actors are efficient. The made-for-TV nature of the movie does become apparent in its low-budget production, but this kind of movie does not necessarily need a lot of fluff.

    Watching nazi officers and officials discussing whenever half-Jews should be made infertile or killed is not an inherently desirable experience. But there are many things in life that are undesirable, but must be confronted.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Worth Watching
    I had the opportunity of viewing Conspiracy during a Holocaust Education workshop for teachers. It is very accurate (from what I have read) and does show the inner-works of the Wansee Conference.

    I believe that the film was either filmed on location or at a place that was very much similar to the Wannsee House. I had the opportunity to travel there this past summer with a group of teachers. I was struck by how much the movie prepared me to think about the house and it's importance in the creation and implementation of the "Final Solution". If you are thinking of showing it to students, you may need to explain to them how the conference was conducted and give them some background -- it has lots of dialogue and plenty of "under currents" that can be hard to follow if you are not familiar with the "power plays" that were going on at that table....lots of ego at that table. It is important to remember that many of these individuals were sent by the "major players" in the Nazi regime to attend the conference. By not attending the conference himself, Hitler and his administrative members could claim "plausable deniability" (so they thought) if anything were to go wrong with the plan. It is hard to believe that this beautiful house that is located on beautifully-decorated ground and of of a spectacular lake could have played such a major role in WWII. Chilling!

    5-0 out of 5 stars chilling and engaging
    It is certainly true that this is not the most accurate of historical documents, but then any historian would tell you that all history is in the interpretation and so the movie is as useful as your interpretation. The performances are excellent, Branagh, in particular, is outstanding, he is every bit the portrayal of the chillingly pleasant monster. The message is powerful, the acting and direction cold, calm and calculated - within 1 hour the holocaust was decided upon; the moment where the topic of discussion is how many and how fast can they be culled? is particularly sickening.

    From an historical perspective i found the following very interesting: Hitler based his party structure on a chaos theory in that he had simple overlapping functions, so that his subordinates would always be engaged in in-fighting, instead of challenging him. It worked remarkably well. Here, in motion, the director shows the in-fighting, but on this part of domestic policy (internal to the Reich, at any rate) the decision was swift and unanimous, Heydrich alone held the power. Utterly intriguing.

    What may make this more interesting for anyone, might be to read Hannah Arendt's account of Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, which is published by Penguin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting
    The Holocaust is one of humanity's greatest tragedies, and its mention brings up images of swastikas, death camps, mass graves, and gas ovens. It's some thing you can't talk about easily, and can barely joke about unless you have no heart. This film is about the Holocaust, and while you may see a swastika arm-band and hear a few Heil Hitlers, you won't find any violence or harrowing images; this film is only rated R due to the use of the f bomb a few times. However, this film can be just as gut wrenching as any Holocaust movie you've seen, because it's all about the people who planned it...and the fact they were just as human as you and me.

    The fate of eleven million European Jews was decided over a meal by several higher ups in the German government (although not Hitler). Led by Reinhard Heydrich (played brilliantly, as usual, by Kenneth Branagh) and his aide (play brilliantly, also as usual, by Stanley Tucci) as they explain the plan. They explain it so simply, as if they're building a house, and in a very intellegent manner. In fact, it has to be explained at some point in the conversation that "deportation" is just a fancy word for murder.

    Many of those present do not agree with the methods, but not because they have sympathy for the Jews. One somber delegate thinks the Jews should be removed from common society, but that murder is too extreme. Another delegate objects to the plan...but only because he feels the procedures Heydrich draws up will contradict his already enforced anti-semite laws. In the end, it is revealed how it will be accomplished: by none other than the gas chambers of the concentration camps.

    Like movies such as "My Dinner With Andre" or "12 Angry Men" this movie takes a storyline built entirely on dialogue and proves it can be fascinating. These are characters that joke about sterilizing a whole race as if the Jews were animals, and the lack of music through out the whole thing (except for the ending narration) adds a good level of realism. I found myself watching this movie three times after I had rented it to closely study how the different characters interacted and treated this serious issue.

    If you are interested in World War II, German history, the Holocaust, or you just like drama, then you will enjoy this movie. Some may not be able to watch it because of the subject matter, but it is definately worth your time. These are not propoganda style Nazis, nor are they charicatures of Hitler, but they are just ordinary people. ... Read more


    8. Heritage - Civilization and the Jews (2002 Edition)
    list price: $99.95
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    Asin: B00006IUI4
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7704
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    This nine-part documentary is not only a history of the Jews, it's a history of the western world! Hundreds of thousands of dollars were probably spent in the production of this series. Abba Eban takes the viewer all over the world to examine one of the world's most gifted and intriguing people - the Jews. These tapes will not put you to sleep. The music and images allows the viewer to relive Jewish history. And consequently, come to understand the world we live in today much better. I know the tapes are pricey, but own this documentary if you ever have the chance. You'll never regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heritage Civilization & the Jews by Abba Eban
    I thought the documentry was thought provoking, and set a good example of what documentries should convey -- "the facts" -- minus "too much" so-called "perspective". I took an amature film-making class years ago, and as much as I like classic films; it is always super to view "factual" documentries (minus the "revisionist" approach to manipulating the facts!) The legacy of the relative time factor puts adequate perspective on such "factual" documentries. It's NOT a regular movie after all -- it's a "review of historical facts". ... Thank you for the great books, and service you provide at Amazon.com. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heritage - Civilization and the Jews DVD
    WOW! This is an incredible set to have. The DVD is a reprint from a PBS special in 1984 (Peabody winner, at that). Abba Eban is an incredible, captivating speaker. My only problem is that there is so much information, I can only watch about two hours at a time. This is a must have whether you are Jewish or not. The series pulls together world history unlike any class I took in college. The addition of the DVD-Rom with tons of maps, historical documents, and video clips is awesome. It has answered most of the questions I had, and let me view a moving graphical history by sliding the scroll bar. Super buy for a history buff!

    5-0 out of 5 stars superb! Teaches us that Jews and christians are brothers
    and sisters. One realizes how alike we are andwonder how we could have persecuted our Jewish brothers for the past 2000 years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Re-issue of a great documentary from the 1980s
    This DVD is a re-issue of a 9-hour mini-series that first aired in the 1980s, and was recently (Nov-Dec. 2001) aired again on PBS. Each segment is 1 hour long, making it a useful tool in history classes covering many different periods. Since the "history of civilization" textbooks rarely mention what the Jews were doing in the 1900-year period between the rise of Christianity and the Nazi Holocaust, this series plays an important role in helping to make the curriculum more inclusive. Plus, The DVD version has a lot of additional resource materials not in the original PBS series.

    Regarding classroom appropriateness in public schools, this is a documentary, not a "religion" series. Yes, the series does talk about religion in some places, but it's called "Civilization and the Jews" for a reason. To be Jewish is not just a "religion," it is also a culture, with its own art, music, literature, etc. The approach is a mix of history, theology, archaeology, art, architecture, etc. that is intended to inform, not preach. The series clearly shows how Jews have contributed to the various civilizations where they lived, and how, in turn, the Jews benefitted from interaction with many of the different cultures where the Jewish communities were located. Yes, it also covers the pesecutions of the Jews, but it's well-balanced with positive experiences and events. Highly recommended! ... Read more


    9. Anne Frank - The Whole Story
    Director: Robert Dornhelm
    list price: $19.99
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    Asin: B00005LC5R
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 6707
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (76)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The queen of diaries
    I've studied Anne Frank for a long time but this is what started me to take an interist in Anne Frank. The movie starts from where the nazis take over amsterdam to where otto finds the diary. I never thought that there was so much more to her story then what I already knew. Hannah Taylor Gordon looks exactly like Anne, they couldn't have gotten a better actor if they tried, not to mention someone who writes just like her. Jessica manley did a great job as Margot bu she was kinda of short to be Margot, and hopefully, Margot would have changed her mind about moving to palistien after all the suicide explosions they've been doing to the isralis lately. Ben kingsley looked exactly like otto frank and if I didn't know it was him, I'd say it was Otto Frank. Brenda Blythen loked alot like Mrs. Van Pels and was funny too. Joachim Krol looked a little like r. van pels except the real Mr. v.p. looked alot older. Jan niklas looked a little like Mr. Pfeffer but like Mr. v.p. Mr. p looked alot older. Lili Taylor looked kinda like Miep and sounded austrian just like the real Miep. Rob Das looked alot like Jan gies and was real good at his part. Tatjuna blacher looked a little like Edith and was bossy with anne just like anne discribed her in her diary. It was such a touching movie and I recommend this to anyone who's a big fan of anne frank.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank A Truly Touching Miniseries
    Anne Frank: The Whole Story is a movie that goes beyond what almost all Holocaust stories do. It is touching to the human spirit and how Anne's soul never gave up until the very end. Hannah Taylor Gordon, who was in Jakob the Liar, turns in a superb performance as the Anne Frank. She is able to show us how Anne reacted to everyday life and the inevitable death of her sister, Margot. Ben Kingsley is amazing as Otto Frank, a quiet subdued man who loved his family and was the only one to survive.
    The most extraordinary part of this miniseries is the fact that the story keeps on going after they are taking to the Nazi concentration camp. We are seeing the unthinkable horrors and how fortunate we are to have not been a Jew prisoner in that camp. The pain and suffering of Anne and Margot is so well brought up that we feel sorry for these girls with dreams of the future. It is no wonder that this earned an Emmy nomination.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb - only the English language detracts from the realism
    I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of reviewers that this is the best account of Anne's life ever made - and one of the best holocaust movies ever made as well.

    The acting is top-notch and Hannah Taylor Gordon is a real find -it is amazing how she is able to bring Anne's character to life.

    The only thing that could theoretically be improved upon is to do the movie in the language(s) used in the real events - that is, mostly Dutch. As a Dutchman, I may seem prejudiced in favour of my own language but that's not it.

    Dutch movies that portray 'international' events or persons almost always use the appropriate language(s) even if that results in a multilingual movie. To me, the story becomes less believable if Dutch and German characters are speaking English to each other, or if they have an unconvincing accent.
    The same thing bugged me when I watched "The Discovery Of Heaven", which is also mostly set in the Netherlands.

    Anyway, this is all hypothetical because: a) I see that a movie in Dutch would probably not be competitive internationally so it could never be made with a similar budget; and b) that would mean that the great cast used in this movie wouldn't have been in it.

    So I'm not really complaining; even if some aspect could theoretically be improved upon (at least according to my personal taste and preferences), it remains, in practice, one of the best ever made in its genre, and a must see for anyone seriously interested in that horrible episode in human history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank - The whole story is wonderful!!!!!
    Just like the book in all the ways it explains all the details. This is as close to the book as you can get. The book was just like I visualised it on the DVD. Its a must see!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
    This movie really put things into perspective. It was very moving and entertaining. I enjoyed it and this movie inspired me to do some reserch on the holocaust and anne frank, and through the movie and the research i have learned a great deal more of this horrible period of time. I enjoyed it and i think many more people will too. ... Read more


    10. Crimes and Misdemeanors
    Director: Woody Allen
    list price: $19.98
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    Asin: B00005AUJK
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3625
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (47)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Undisputedly, Allen's most brilliant and mature movie.
    What can I say about this movie, except that I have seen it more times than I can count. Each time I watch it, something more is revealed and to me that is the sign of truly excellent writing. The characters are three-dimensional, each with their own idiosyncracies and contradictions. The separate plots compliment each other and stay distinct till the very end, yet they both deal with fundamental human issues and dilemmas. The cast is first-rate. Much of the movie is seen through Allen's character; as always, a cynical and unhappy man, yet you leave the film feeling a certain satisfaction and a greater insight into human behavior. The philosopher is a second narrator, in a sense, and his points of view are pertinent to both of the parallel plots. His suicide adds a twist to the story, where the viewer is suddenly left unsure on how to feel about his poignant words which we once trusted and valued. Overall, the movie is a gem and should be seen by every serious Woody Allen fan as well as those who can't stand him.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The eyes of God are on us always
    Two stories run parallel to each other, destined to meet in the denouement. Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a successful opthamologist, contemplates murdering his hysterical mistress (Angelica Huston). On the flipside, Clifford Stern (Woody Allen) falls for Halley Reed (Mia Farrow), the woman producing a documentary he’s directing on his loathsome brother-in-law, a successful television producer (Alan Alda). One narrative carries its inherent weight well. Landau’s torment after the deed is done is palpable and painful. The other narrative seems flighty by comparison. Titular bad guy Alda shields himself from the daggers shot from Woody’s rolling eyes. However, his only real sin is lechery.

    That being said, the two most heartbreaking moments in the film -- moments that rival in visceral emotion anything I’ve seen at the movies in some time -- come from the “flighty” narrative. I wish I could tell you what they were, but that would spoil the surprise. Just know that they are probably the most dramatic moments Woody Allen has ever put on film, as either director or -- and here’s the surprising part -- dramatic actor. His work is low-key and subdued here, more so than I’ve ever seen it before.

    The rest of the cast is spotty at best. Landau, who I rarely believe in his roles, comes close to completely pulling off his Judah, only he misses by a few steps. One scene, where Judah exhibits poor judgement, had me astonished in my seat with disbelief. Still, more commitment from Landau would have sold the scene better. Mia Farrow gets some snappy one-liners as well as some tragic moments, but it feels like she’s forcing the issue in both respects. Also, she has little to no chemistry with Woody (at least none that I saw on screen). The best work is done by Alan Alda. His role could have been an over-the-top parody (it nearly is), but Alda pulls the reigns back just enough. His Lester isn’t really the bad man Cliff sees; he’s just a materialistic blowhard. Nothing criminal about that. Kudos to Alda for showing restraint, while sketching a living and breathing character.

    There are some truly funny moments that serve as comic relief to break up the tense drama. Woody gets most of these, natch. One memorable scene involves Cliff and Lester, in which Lester pauses from a conversation about Cliff filming his documentary. He recites into a mini-taperecorder ideas about a TV farce in which a “loser” films a documentary on a successful man, and learns something in the process. Cliff, standing right there the whole time, rolls his eyes in disbelief. On paper, it may not come across how hearty a laugh this moment gets.

    The most fascinating aspect of the film was probably the discussions of morality and ethics. God enters the picture once or twice (in discussion only), and man’s deeds are raked over the coals. And even though it doesn’t provide the typical Hollywood movie answers, the answers the film does provide are realistic and true and, most importantly, tragic. While the situations portrayed may be fantastic, the reactions by the characters within them were real.

    Probably the darkest of Woody’s movies, “Crimes and Misdemeanors” will most assuredly be amongst the ones remembered a hundred years in the future. It balances its comedy, drama, and tragedy sublimely, creating a document of life that’s sure to provoke and entertain.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Crime but no time
    I think what Allen meant to call this film was "Felonies and Misdemeanors" since a misdemeanor is a crime and the title a little redundant. That aside I think it's his best film, hands down. He managed to pull together his comic and tragic instincts into what is an entertaining and occasionally harrowing declaration of atheism. Not a philosophy everyone agrees with but he doesn't soft-pedal it. The staging of the murder that parallels Allen's romantic misadventures with a TV producer gives Martin Landau the role of a lifetime as a well-meaning physician who profits from an evil act. Great performances all around, especially Jerry Ohrbach as Landau's hoody brother and Allan Alda as a TV impressario who divests Woody of Mia Farrow (something the director probably wishes had happened in real life).

    3-0 out of 5 stars God Is Not An Idiot
    Examining theodicy, the enigma of reconciling a benevolent God with capricious fate and suffering, Woody Allen fails to get much beyond a dark comic-dramatization of a freshman philosophy bull session, attempting to prove heroic enlightenment by forming agnostic conclusions.

    Martin Landau plays an ophthalmologist having an affair with a frantic, aging stewardess threatening to disrupt his affluent contentment by confronting his wife. Not deriving solace from a kindly Rabbi patient and friend who is facing blindness and recommends honesty, Landau solicits help from his criminal brother to solve the problem with a hired killer. His bouts of conscience include reminiscing moral debates at a family Seder during his adolescence. His father, favoring a morally sensible existence, argues with a nihilistic aunt who trivializes the bible, believes God's non-existence is proven by The Holocaust, and views morality as a social contrivance.

    Allen plays an uncompromising documentarian falling in love with an assistant (Farrow), also pursued by his boorish brother-in-law (Alda) who produces sitcoms and relishes being perceived as a creative genius. Alda's deep thoughts include the idea that with enough passage of time, tragedy becomes laughable, believing the Lincoln assassination to be an example. Alda throws his in-law a bone by allowing him to film him at work when Allen would rather work on a portrayal of a humanistic philosopher pondering serious questions. Unlike Landau's cynical aunt, the philosopher believes an empty universe is given meaning when human beings define values for themselves.

    Allen's likable character turns the documentary of Alda into a satire of the man's vanity, and we gain sympathy for his protectiveness towards a favorite niece. Shielding her proves futile as Allen learns of the philosopher's suicide while on an outing with her. At a wedding reception, Allen discovers he has lost his battle for Farrow's affections to the egotist and then engages in a chance colloquy with Landau, wistful over the fading of his conscience. Allen's sadness invites us to share a resignation over the capriciousness of fate, the success of obnoxious people, the joyless end of an unmourned mistress, the unrequited love of a sensitive man, a sweet woman taken in by a cad, the blindness of a benevolent Rabbi, the despair of a man of apparent wisdom, and the return to comfort by a philanderer and murderer all serving to portray God as incompetent because life is unpredictable and joy and suffering are not proportionate to decency or malice. The answers of religion must be contrivances.

    However, it requires contrivances to view God as a fool. Extreme skepticism often ignores contrary evidence to its cosmic-accident interpretation of existence. If we are just "a pack of neurons" and our mental life nothing but electrical impulses, then we cannot explain the realm of abstract concepts, including those of science. Nor can we explain the human mind's openness to truth, the foundation of all thought. Atheists cannot explain why anything should go right, even observation and deduction, why good logic should not be as misleading as bad logic, if they are both chance movements in the brain of a bewildered ape. Atheists exalt reason, but they cannot account for reason. Neither can materialism account for consciousness, free will, value judgments, and the existence of a unitary self. In a material world such things cannot exist. Matter cannot be free or have a self. Neither could free will exist if joy and suffering existed in perfect proportion with virtue and malice reducing our functionality to stimulus-response reward-punishment contingencies like that of lab rats pursuing a piece of cheese. Love and courage could not exist.

    Similarly, no matter how we claim to be nonjudgmental and deny innate moral truth, we can not ignore the countering evidence of our own anger, which reminds us that there are natural expectations we have, should have, and can not avoid having of each other. Anger is the existential expression of moral outrage even when we exercise moral outrage at the very concept of moral outrage, reflexively calling anyone presenting a moral vision a hypocrite. In our sober moments, we know the life of the desperate woman is as sacred as the successful doctor. Nonetheless, we often live with the temptation to defer to "important people," hoping the identification of an imaginary human genius will confer a sense of superiority on ourselves by our presumed courage in recognizing theirs. We are quick to excuse the transgressions of genius. Morality can not be enough for great minds if they represent insights that anyone can have. Allen is a brilliant satirist of human pretense, often portraying trendy sophisticates as fools, but just as often sides with their elitist conventions that view metaphysical and moral questions as hopelessly complex needing great minds to sort it out for the rest of us. The last advice from Allen's philosopher is to hope for some genius of the future to give us life's meaning, although in the interim loving our families provides meaningful hope.

    But since a benevolent creator implies the universal nature of important truth, the fading of conscience does not really occur so easily, and an ethical sense is innate to human decency. The killing of a man of noble purpose is still a tragedy 140 years later. So is the killing of a lonely mistress. A God with the wisdom to be subtle also invites us to find meaning in loving our families, which is precisely what we don't do when we exercise a blind faith in our self-definition. Self-worship is closer to the definition of evil. It may be that we prefer to ignore evidence that God is not idiotic because it helps us to avoid realizing that we often are. Why impeach our failures of decency if God is in no position to judge us negatively if we don't? Fortunately, as our better, God is merciful in judging our mendacity, our failures, and our acts of desperation. There is a vast body of literature examining theodicy, unfortunately most written by humble people whom intellectuals never notice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerfully intelligent film
    This is not a typical Woody Allen film in that it has an overall seriously philosophical quality. The performance of Martin Landau as a successful opthamolgist who is morally conflicted is one of the most moving and grounded Film performances I have ever seen. He is just magnificent in this movie. Allen deftly weaves Landau's story together with another thread featuring Allen as a documentary film maker who is unhappily married. His brother-in - law is an obnoxious televison producer played to great effect by Alan Alda. This film raises questions of morality , faithfulness and does so in a way that leaves the viewer to think through these issues as the characters go trough their respective moral crises. There are some laughs included but for the most part this is serious filmmaking at it's best. ... Read more


    11. The Sorrow and the Pity
    Director: Marcel Ophüls
    list price: $49.99
    our price: $44.99
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    Asin: B00005AFSL
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 9835
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    A chronicle of a French city under the occupation. Director Marcel Ophuls combined interviews and archival film footage to explore the reality of the French occupation in one small industrial city, Clermont-Ferrand. He spoke with resistance fighters, collaborators, spies, farmers, government officials, writers, artists and veterans. The result is a shattering portrait of how ordinary people actually conducted themselves under extraordinary circumstances. By turns gripping, horrifying, and inspiring, Academy Award nominee "The Sorrow and the Pity" is a triumph of humanist filmmaking and a testament to the power of cinema. Before "Shoah," "Schindler's List," "The Long Way Home" and "The Last Days," there was "The Sorrow and the Pity." ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Courageous, controversial and truthful
    To most film viewers, this masterpiece of Marcel Ophuls is known by being continuously mentioned by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall". Yes, it is the long documentary film about the holocaust that they talk about.

    Marcel Ophuls, son of Max Ophuls has created a poignant potrait of french society under the Nazis occupation, and their relation to the most horible crime in human history -- he indeed is not afraid to tell the truth; that holocaust took place in France because the French citizen allowed it to happen to the least to say, and even have colaborated to it. However, this film is not a simple minded accusation, but a thoughtful study about a society under pressure, and its strugle for survival.

    It certainly is a deppressing film; the viewers are constantl reminded to what they would have done if they were --we were-- living under such sircumstances. It is truthful to that extreme extent. It's an amazing film; thoughtful, inteligent, emotional.

    The opening of this film steered quite a controversy in Frannce, but neverthless had led the way to fictional films about the Holocaust and the ocupation that are more mature and adult, not afraid to portray the truth; Jean-Pierre Melville's THE ARMY OF SHADOW, Francois Truffaut's THE LAST METRO, among others.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scalding Remembrance of French Betrayal
    I was a little daunted at watching "The Sorrow and the Pity" because it is four hours long, and in "Annie Hall" Woody Allen presents this movie as a sort of dour duty that you have to sit through to prove your own ethical hardiness. It turns out that this landmark documentary is as gripping and riveting as any fine fictional film, because it handles its thorny issues with great skill and is as carefully crafted and filmed as a Hollywood thriller. I wonder how much Ken Burns was influenced by it, because it seems to be a sort of forerunner of his work; that is, documentaries that are planned and executed as art, not just as reguritation of stale facts.

    Ophuls talks to many French and Germans who lived during the time, and who either resisted the Nazis or gave into them. (It's a little aggravating that on the DVD there are no titles to identify who is speaking; you have to piece together who said what from a close reading of the closing credits.) People were more innocent 30 years ago about appearing before a camera and they maybe weren't as aware of just how revealing about themselves it could be. Thus you get interview subjects like Laval's nephew, and the former German officer at his child's wedding, and the aristocrat who joined the Waffen SS, who inadvertently disclose their opportunism or self-deception or venality or cowardice. The clips from now rarely seen propaganda films that Ophuls uses are mesmerizing. During the scenes from the anti-Semitic "Jud Suss" you get a feeling of palpable evil as you view just how the Nazis prepared their subjects for the coming holocaust.

    Ophuls prsents Vichy as a colossal moral failure by the French people, a collapse of character that haunts them to this very day. (Ophuls couldn't get French financing for the film, and then state-run French television refused to show it.) He shatters forever the myth that all the French were in the Resistance. "Sorrow" and "pity" are the very words one uses to define "tragedy"; "tragedy" is the word you must use to describe the French experience of World War II. This film is a solemn reminder of the dangers of appeasing or collaborating with fascism, and it's more relevant than ever.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good title. Maybe I will stop French -bashing.
    The French are to be pitied. Lots of rationalization for losing the war. They did lose their war. They just ended up on the winning side. Lots of rationalization why their army lost to a smaller, inferior force, why there was so many colaborators
    & the fiction that Vichy was anything but a puppet-state. On that note it is to Britain's & the United States' shame that they ever acknowledged it's existence or it's leaders. The alternative was to recognize the only man among boys, namely Charles DeGaulle. A son of a bitch to be sure, but recognizing him eariler would have saved England & the U.S. a lot of grief later. De Gaulle does not forget & does not forgive...ever.
    This is all history. A painful & depressing movie (perfect for Woody Allen's character). I was embarassed for the French.
    I recalled a line from Catch 22: "It is better to live on your knees than die on your feet."

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant historical account and a must see...
    Marcel Ophüls portrays a true and objective image of the Nazi occupation of France between 1940 and 1944. During this time France was governed by a pro-Nazi French government and Ophüls rewinds the time to the memories of the war by interviewing former Resistance members, German soldiers, collaborators, spies, and many others from all walks of the French society. Through these interviews that are supported by film documentation from World War II Ophüls reveals two distinct sides of the French occupation. One side resisted the Nazi's and the other collaborated with them, and it is the line between the two sides that causes much pain and agony to the people of France during the Nazi occupation. The film brings the audience a personal and horrific narrative of the atrocities and crimes towards humanity that took place in France during the war, which cannot make one feel sorrow and pity for the French people. In the end, Sorrow and the Pity offers a brilliant historical account of what took place in France during the war, which should be viewed by all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant look at the ordinary French views
    I saw this film in a theatre when it was first released. It was shown on alternate days. I'm sure that seeing it on a "big screen" was more gripping than on a normal TV. Any study of French history, beginning with and before the Dryfus(?) Affair knows how deeply ingrained the anti-semitism was in France. Even the United States, when FDR turned away a boatload of Jews from our shores to return to Germany, where they were all murdered, did so partly to satisfy American anti-semites (and himself). Many of the people's mixed feelings show the Germans were doing the thing they didn't have the guts to do themselves. This is a great film for the depth it probes into the French people. At the same time, brave Frenchmen put themselves in great danger to help the Jews, so this is an indicment of a national attitude, not its entire population. The fortune that the French gov't has made in recent years selling weapons to Arab nations while voting against anything for Isreal show that things haven't changed much in 60 yrs. I grew up in Minn., where Minneapolis was, with great justice, called the anti-semitic capital of America--something I saw with my own eyes. ... Read more


    12. The Pianist (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Roman Polanski
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JLT5
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2518
    Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Exclusive 2 DVD Canadian version features, Q & A with Roman Polanski, Production Diary, The Warsaw Ghetto - Historical Background, Wladyslaw Szpilman Biography, Filmographies, Bonus Audio Tracks from the Sony Classical CD Soundtrack, Soundtrack spot, 'Story of Survival' Featurette, Theatrical Trailers, Television Spots including Adrien Brody Interview Segments, Poster Gallery, Photo Gallery & Director's Note. Widescreen Version. Aspect Ratio 1.85 1. Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1. Region 1/NTSC. ... Read more

    Reviews (281)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Intense Life Story During the Holocaust
    "The Pianist" is one of the top 10 best films of 2002. It was rightfully nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, going on to win three: Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Its true story of world-famous pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, who struggles for his life during the Holocaust is very powerful, yet brilliant. The hardcore drama begins the moment his passionate music career becomes threatened by Hitler. Its material is close to as graphic as the actual conditions, which is how it should be displayed. Such intensity, which is never lost for a second, guarantees an emotional reaction. All the emotions in the scenery and through the characters are heartpounding through Szpilman's entire unfortunate journey. The immense research of these events is present. The writer's own heart and soul was written in every word. This project was wonderfully led by Roman Polanski's brilliant vision. His directing talents answer why he deserves his legendary status.

    The set scenery is as accurate to the actual buildings and living conditions of Europe in 1939-1945. The hard work through the construction paid off, adding extra living intensity. The clothing worn in the movie adds the necessary emotional value that keeps audiences watching. All other physical details in this film are also flawless, namely the make-up and the dirty scenery (dirt, burns, blood, etc.). The musical score was composed beautifully, blending perfectly with every scenes' particular mood.

    The performances from all the actors are beyond words. Adrien Brody beautifully portrays Szpilman in his career-launching role. His every drop of heart and soul are obviously presented through his character. This is one of the best Holocaust movie roles in cinema history. His talents prove that he'll be around for many more years. A few other actors could have received Oscar nominations for their supporting roles without critic complaints.

    "The Pianist" is a great movie for entertainment and education. This future classic is sure to please many audiences. Those looking for more perspectives on the Holocaust should also watch "Schindler's List", which offers a more graphic look.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever about the Holocaust.
    In an earlier review, I proclaimed "Chicago" the best film of 2002. Now I realize my judgment was hasty: "The Pianist" is really the year's best film. Roman Polanski has fashioned a horrifying, deeply moving film based on the life of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish pianist who manages through the kindness of friends and strangers and the sheerest strokes of luck to survive in Warsaw during the six years of World War II. Polanski's understated style makes the horrors he records all the more powerful, as Nazis matter-of-factly murder Jews in the street for no other reason than that they can. Polanski actually lived through these atrocities, and makes them absolutely real on the screen. Polanski also had the enormous luck to find the perfect actor to play Szpilman, the young American actor Adrien Brody. With his soulful eyes and aquiline, otherworldly face, Brody was born to play Szpilman; in a performance that is nearly wordless through long stretches of the film, he moves us to tears. Brody brings Szpilman to breathtaking life, a decent, reasonable, exceptionally talented man in a world where decency, reason and talent count for less than nothing. In the early portions of the film, Brody bears more than a passing resemblance to portraits of Chopin; toward the end, long-haired and scraggly-bearded after years of hiding in bombed-out buildings, he looks like Jesus on the road to Calvary. There is one scene in which, ordered by a German officer to play, Szpiilman plays a Chopin ballade--the first time he has touched a piano in years. The performance, technically choppy but impassioned, reaches heights of emotion the cinema rarely achieves. This moment, and many others in the film, are magnificent testaments to the artistry of Polanski and Brody. At the end, it's not that you shouldn't leave before the credits are finished rolling, as Szpilman returns to his old life at the end of the war, playing Chopin's Grande Polonaise with the Warsaw Philharmonic, the beauty of the performance and the human triumph it represents leave you transfixed in your seat. No other non-documentary film about the Holocaust--not even "Schindler's List"--has moved me as deeply as "The Pianist."

    5-0 out of 5 stars For shame
    Even though barely deserving a rebuttal, some of the reviews here are so beyond asinine that I cannot restrain myself, particularly with regard to those reviewers who had the gall to call Mr. Szpilman a coward. Mr. Szpilman risked immediate death every time he helped to smuggle a weapon or ammunition into the ghetto. The ghetto uprising itself was essentially a suicide mission, and everyone involved probably knew that. So Mr. Szpilman was a coward because he wanted to live, then? How dare you. While I don't believe that any work of art should be above criticism no matter what its subject matter, I have not read a single negative review here that has any remotely intelligent criticism of this film whatsoever. They pretty much describe it as "boring" or "another Holocaust movie." Schmucks. One reviewer couldn't even remember the protagonist's name, yet had no shortage of would-be scathing things to say about the movie. Almost as absurd are the unfavorable comparisons to "Schindler's List." Yes, Oskar Schindler was a great man, but the very straightforward good vs. evil nature of the subject matter must have appealed to Steven Spielberg's very American sensibilities. "The Pianist," on the other hand, boldly treads a ground that is decidedly messier, morally less clear-cut, and I think that only a man like Roman Polanski, who understands the particular time and place where these events transpired, could have made this film. And Adrien Brody fully deserved the Academy Award for this performance. And, yes, he does spend a good deal of time searching like a "rat" for food. What do these buffoons think it means to survive in such an environment? Idiots. Anyhow, this film is a masterpiece, an artistic triumph of the highest rank. The naysayers have not been able to level a single legitimate criticism against it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Some lied when they vowed "Never Again"
    For the record, let me comment on Dennis Littrell on his same review of this film. I find his opening statement repulsive, as he used the persecution of Jews during WW II as an excuse to justify Zionist persecution against the Palestinians here. Littrell is solely wrong if he thinks The Pianist is a film of Jewish supremacy overcoming all odds. Adrian Brody commented that in Szpilman's book (which this film is based), he narrates his experiences in an objective view. There were not just evil Nazis running around persecuting Poles and Jews, but there good Poles and bad Poles, good Jews and bad Jews and even good Germans among Nazi ranks. Even Polanski allows this in his film, where poor and suffering Jews complain of rich and influential Jews doing nothing to allevate their suffering. You can see the extreme contrast of rich and poor gap where you see the Jews in the restaurant where Szpilman plays the piano and the streets where you can see corpses lying on street, victims of starvation.

    In the beginning of the film, the Germans have invaded Poland and the Szpilman family are adjusting their lives to the new ruling of the Nazi Germans. They find their living conditions deteriorate as they are hustled away from their comfortable home to Ghetto and finally to the "melting pot". We see two brothers conflicting with each other as Hendrik, Szpilman's brother did not like the way he supposedly grovel to the authorities and using his privilage as a famous pianist which many Jews may envy. Even Hendrik was ungrateful when his brother freed him from prison. "Are you mad?" Szpilman asked. Hendrik's reply was "That is also my business."

    Szpilman's influence was so great that he was spared when his family was sent off to the gas chambers. He lost every one of his family and when he goes back to the Ghetto where virtually all Jews were wiped out, here is a man completely devastated. We see the second half of the movie being akin to The Fugitive where he wriggles away from the claws of ever-suspecting Nazis.

    When caught by Captain Wilm Hosenfeld and asked to play the piano, he plays the piano for the first time in a few years he had to be in silence for fear of alerting those around him (in apartment where he lives, he cannot play the piano as to alert everybody around him that there is a hiding Jew). This is one of the most redemptive scenes in the history of film, Szpilman plays the Chopin's Ballade reflecting the ordeal he went through. It is akin to Furtwangler conducting the great Beethoven Ninth in 1942 with battlefield sounds heard from distant.

    At this age, where we cannot foretell the conclusion to the Middle East conflict and Americans squandering up their operation in Iraq, the pathetic music of MTV is contrary to music in Szpilman's time. Great music can only be created with great suffering. Gustav Mahler said that if his life flows like a calm meadow, he would not have the ability to compose anything. The classical music age has lost it's Szpilmans, Furtwanglers, Menuhins and the like. When another horrific World War comes, will there be another artist like Szpilman? Time can only tell.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Achievement
    The depiction of the brutality of the Nazis toward the Jewish population of Poland is heartbreaking and unforgettable. This film captures the range of emotions that a family experience as they subjected to the gradual increase in persecution that ultimately leads to Treblinka.
    Adrien Brody is a marvelous actor and is perfectly cast as Spilmann the famous pianist who is the only member of his family to survive. Spilmann's Survival depends on the kindnes of others who take great risks to protect him. Thes heroic acts are contrasted with the forementioned brutality of Germans to great effect in the film. A final act of redemptive kindness by a german officer near the end of the war brings the absurdity of the circumstances we have just witnessed into full relief.

    Based on Spillman's memoirs , the film is very accurate relative to the book. The cinematography is astounding, particularly the transformation of Warsaw to a spectoral ruin where Spillman struggles to survive. The movie is well acted, well written and shocking in it's realism.

    IT will leave you numb if you haven't seen it yet. ... Read more


    13. Annie Hall
    Director: Woody Allen
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $11.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6304907729
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 971
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    Annie Hall is one of the truest, most bittersweet romances on film. In it, Allen plays a thinly disguised version of himself: Alvy Singer, a successful--if neurotic--television comedian living in Manhattan. Annie (the wholesomely luminous Dianne Keaton) is a Midwestern transplant who dabbles in photography and sings in small clubs. When the two meet, the sparks are immediate--if repressed. Alone in her apartment for the first time, Alvy and Annie navigate a minefield of self-conscious"is-this-person-someone-I'd-want-to-get-involved-with?" conversation. As they speak, subtitles flash their unspoken thoughts: the likes of "I'm not smart enough for him" and "I sound like a jerk." Despite all their caution, they connect, and we're swept up in the flush of their new romance. Allen's antic sensibility shines here in a series of flashbacks to Alvy's childhood, growing up, quite literally, under a rumbling roller coaster. His boisterous Jewish family's dinner table shares a split screen with the WASP-y Hall's tight-lipped holiday table, one Alvy has joined for the first time. His position as outsider is uncontestable he looks down the table and sizes up Annie's "Grammy Hall" as "a classic Jew-hater."

    The relationship arcs, as does Annie's growing desire for independence. It quickly becomes clear that the two are on separate tracks, as what was once endearing becomes annoying. Annie Hall embraces Allen's central themes--his love affair with New York (and hatred of Los Angeles), how impossible relationships are, and his fear of death. But their balance is just right, the chemistry between Allen's worry-wart Alvy and Keaton's gangly, loopy Annie is one of the screen's best pairings. It couldn't be more engaging. --Susan Benson ... Read more

    Reviews (115)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Annie Hall has truly stood the test of time. And I loved it
    I have a confession to make.

    Until now, I've never seen a Woody Allen movie.

    Boy, I sure was a "miss out".

    Annie Hall, made in 1977, is a classic. Why, oh why, did I wait so long?

    First of all it's a story, and a very funny story at that, about a New York Jewish comedian, played by Woody Allen and his WASP girlfriend, played by Diane Keaton. It pokes fun at many social mores that we take for granted and I found myself laughing throughout. There's the New Yorker who never learns to drive, the mid-westerner who orders a pastrami sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise (which seems almost grotesque to a New Yorker like me), the pretentious movie critic, the neuroses of modern romances, and the differences between the New York and Los Angeles way of life.

    The film runs along at such a fast pace that there is almost no time at all between funny moments. And, to make it even better, there are some wonderful film techniques. For example, while Diane Keaton and Woody Allen are talking about photography, there are subtitles on the screen about the physical relationship that they are really thinking about.

    If the film were made today the phone calls would have been made on cell phones. But surprisingly, that is the only detail that might be changed. Annie Hall has really truly stood the test of time. And I loved it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Woody, in arguably his best form..
    Plenty of reviews here claim this is Woody's best and I'm hard-pressed to differ: chronic New York neurotic/comedy writer Alvy Singer can't commit to anything except his own misery and falls in love (and meets his match in psychoses) with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton in her Oscar-winning role), the Waspy flibbertigibbet who wants more out of life but she's not sure what. Oscars also for Allen's direction, his screenplay (co-written by Marshall Brickman) and Best Picture. Look quickly for Jeff Goldblum's cameo ("I forgot my mantra") at Paul Simon's So. Cal. Party, John Glover in a flashback party scene with Annie, Shelley Hack in a sidewalk scene, veteran character actor Tracey Walter and Beverly D'Angelo in the sitcom tape Roberts is sweetening with a laugh track in an edit bay, Woody's longtime friend and future producer Jean Doumanian in the coke scene, and at the film's end Sigourney Weaver (trust me it's her, but it is in a long shot and no dialogue) as Alvy's latest girlfriend. Best reaction shot: Allen with Keaton and Walken in a car after Walken has proclaimed his sudden urges of death. Also, I too wish I could do what Allen does in shutting up a movie-line pontificator like he does with media expert Marashall McLuhan.

    A superb and passionately funny film between the hot cold relationship between two people. Woody Allen delivers the goods in this terribly witty and romantic film, Diane Keaton matches his quality too. Expect to see neurotic behaviour from Allen as we get a firm grasp of the two main characters as their relationship develops. For me, this is an absolute pinnacle film of it's genre and should not be missed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
    Woody's self searching and unique form of humor make this a brilliant movie. Diane Keaton is the perfect co-star.

    I saw this last year after not seeing it since it came out in the late 1970's...still just as fresh and wonderful. I just wish my wife liked Woody Allen humor as much as I do.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not His Best but Still Very Good
    People just adore Annie Hall. I like Annie Hall. Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters work better for me but I can think of about a billion worse ways to spend 90 minutes than watching Annie Hall. Even though I'm not particularly charmed by it, I freely admit Annie Hall is better than 98% of all American movies ever. Funny, smart and endearingly offbeat. Certainly worth the going price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Because we need the eggs
    Ok, let me get this one thing out of the way: when I was 12, Annie Hall beat Star Wars for the Best Picture Academy Award, and I was not a happy kid. However, time can do funny things...

    I first saw this picture a few years later, with my first real girlfriend (hi, Lisa!) on the revival circuit. I found it witty and intelligent, as I have with most of Woody Allen's films. I have to say that, to my 16-year-old mind, it still didn't make a huge impression. Twenty years and a failed marriage later, however, I think I can honestly say that I now get it.

    Annie Hall is, to me, Woody Allen's greatest triumph as a filmmaker and a storyteller. It's a bittersweet, often hilarious recounting of a relationship from its start to its inevitable end. We see Allen at his most honest, at times brutal examination of himself and his destructive approach to relationships as he plays Alvy Singer, a funny, neurotic comedian (not a great stretch for Woody, granted). All the angst, the neuroses, and manic phobias that at first seem so idiosyncratic and charming, eventually become tiring and sad. Here is a man who is so attached to his psychoses that he would be an empty shell without them, and we see the painful fact of this in his reflections of previous relationships and marriages throughout the course of his adult life. Ultimately, this is a character so galvanized by his fears and phobias that he is simply incapable of managing a complex adult relationship, one free of paranoia and anxiety and this is his tragic downfall. In short, he is a small child trapped in the body of a small man.

    This is not, however, one of Allen's Bergmanesque forays into introspection. The knee-slapping hilarity of many of the scenes help draw us into his world and the relationship he has with Annie (Diane Keaton, marvelous as always), his friends, his family, and the world around him. A particular favorite is when, on their first meeting, Alvy and Annie exchange basic getting-to-know-you small talk, and their hidden meanings and anxieties are shown to us in subtitles. Other scenes involving a movie-line blowhard, a lost mantra, and Annie's decidedly white-bread family are the stuff of legend, and they never fail to bring a smile to my face.

    Though this film is nearing thirty-years old, it shows no sign of aging. The themes are familiar and universal; who hasn't fallen desperately in love, only to feel the painful tentacles of fear come creeping in the moment they've opened their heart for all the world to see? This film will never lose its place in my heart as one of the best films I've ever seen. ... Read more


    14. Blazing Saddles
    Director: Mel Brooks
    list price: $19.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0790731487
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3265
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Mel Brooks scored his first commercial hit with this raucous Western spoof starring the late Cleavon Little as the newly hired (and conspicuously black) sheriff of Rock Ridge. Sheriff Bart teams up with deputy Jim (Gene Wilder) to foil the railroad-building scheme of the nefarious Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman). The simple plot is just an excuse for a steady stream of gags, many of them unabashedly tasteless, that Brooks and his wacky cast pull off with side-splitting success. The humor is so juvenile and crude that you just have to surrender to it; highlights abound, from the lunkheaded Alex Karras as the ox-riding Mongo to Madeline Kahn's uproarious send-up of Marlene Dietrich as saloon songstress Lili Von Shtupp. Adding to the comedic excess is the infamous campfire scene involving a bunch of hungry cowboys, heaping servings of baked beans and, well, you get the idea. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (207)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential Comedy Movie
    I love this movie! From the opening scene, where Cleavon Little sings the negro work song, "I Get a Kick Outta You", ala Nat King Cole, and he is corrected by the white men shoing him how to sing "Camptown Ladies", to the absurd surrealist ending (when was the last time you've seen a movie burst out of the movie, this is beautiful comedy.

    Sight gags flying by at the speed of light, you will have to watch it hundreds of times to get them all, one liners that would make the Marx Brothers proud ("Bart, I heard you was hung." "You heard right!) This is absurdist comedy at is best (A toll booth on the William J LaPetomaine Freeway). The Mel Brooks choreography is wonderful when Lili Von Schtup sings "I'm Tired." When was the last time you saw German Soldiers tango with their rifles. This movie is filled frame to frame with humor, and no one gets away not insulted (Okay, we'll take the Irish too!)

    The cast was perfection, either just over the top, or way over the top Harvey Korman is hilarious as the nefarious Hedley Lamarr. Cleavon Little is fantastic as he makes fun of his own stereotypes, it is absolutely one of the funniest movies ever made by humans on the planet earth.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Until a Special Edition comes along ...
    ... this will have to do. But that ain't all bad.

    Politically incorrect and loving it, "Blazing Saddles" holds up as a comedy nearly 30 years after its release, and maybe even has gotten funnier as Americans get more uptight. Heaven help us if we lose our ability to laugh at the outrageous.

    And while the bathroom humor (and the campfire scene) gets all the notice, there are some very subtle jokes in the film, such as the "laurel and hardy handshake" and "Thank you, Van."

    As for extras ... there's not much. A trailer, both widescreen and cropped versions, and an monologue by Mel Brooks that plays over the first half of the movie. It's not scene-specific, but it's worth listening to. For instance, Gene Wilder wasn't even supposed to be in the movie. To find out who was, and why Wilder got the part ... listen to the interview.

    This film cries out for a special edition. A scene-specific commentary by Brooks and co-writers Andrew Bergman and Richard Pryor. A making-of documentary. The scenes that were edited into the TV version of the movie (like the diving scene and the governor's visit to the fake Rock Ridge)...

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tasteless But Funny
    Plays like an ennactment of one of those tasteless joke books set to a Western theme. Not for everyone. Even fans of this sort of thing have to be in a certain mood.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The funniest western ever made
    Cleavon Little plays a black railroad worker condemend to death for assaulting his white foreman. At the last minute he is reprieved by the governor who has the devious idea of making him sheriff of Rock Ridge, a town the governor wants destroyed so they can run the railroad through the area, he thinks a black sheriff will finish the town off. When Little arrives in Rock Ridge he is nearly lynched by the outratged inhabitants but manages to outwit them. Safe in the sheriff's office, he finds the town drunk (Gene Wilder) just waking up in the cells, and they strike up a friendship. Together they set about the task of winning over the folk of Rock Ridge ("simple, wholesome, country folk - you know, morons" as Wilder says), and trying to save the town from destruction. This blissfuly funny film is packed with hilarious episodes. There's the wonderful scene where Little, asked to sing a negro song, obliges with 'I get a kick out of you', the scene where he arrives in Rock Ridge, there's Madelein Khan's hilarious Marlene Dietrich impersonation, the wonderful scene where Little and Wilder infiltrate the baddies' gang disguised as Klu Klux Klan members, and my favourite scene of all, the bit where the townsfolk, asked to give some land to the minority groups who are to help them build the fake town, reply "All right, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we DON'T want the irish!" The film is utterly delightful, with hilarious performances from all concerned. There's just one thing that I wonder about. Cleavon Little is such a wonderful comic actor, not to mention being drop-dead gorgeous as well, why has so little been seen of him since this film was made? Never mind, if you're only going to be famous for one film, this is a great one to be remembered for.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even the "Making-of" was recycled!
    Five stars for the movie itself as well as the presentation. The movie looks and sounds great.

    BUT--- as noted by many, the "30th Anniversary Edition" supplements are basically a hack job. This is easily one of the most influential comedies of all-time, it deserved to really be given the Special Edition treatment.

    The "Commentary" is not a traditional commentary at all; not only is it simply the audio from a 55 minute interview with Brooks, it was issued on the previous dvd. This has been mentioned by many reviewers.

    What hasn't been as well-reported is that even the half-hour retrospective doc has been recycled. The "Back in the Saddle" program, which is admittedly a decent if unspectacular show, was previously issued on the 2001 VHS edition! Basically, this featurette was issued on the 27th Anniversary video cassette release. Yes, this is the first time it has appeared on dvd, but still a rather lazy choice.

    The "Additional Scenes" are, somewhat annoyingly, not accessible scene-by scene. They play as one approx. 10-minute piece. These scenes were added to the TV broadcast version. It's nice to have them, though most of them are shown in the "Back in the Saddle" featurette.

    The only other significant supplement is the "Black Bart" pilot episode. This 24-minute show is a real curiousity, a great archival piece even though the show itself is excruciatingly BAD. Still, its interesting viewing, and very easy on the eyes. This show, quite simply, looks amazing! Very well preserved.

    There are a couple other bits, like the trailer and an excerpt from a Madeline Kahn documentary (only about 4 minutes or so).

    Really, all things considered, Warner really dropped the ball on the supplementals for this edition. The movie itself looks fantastic and the new 5.1 mix isn't anything special but it sounds better than the old disc. The movie is what really counts, and in that area the presentation can hardly be faulted. But in the end, they didn't actually produce any NEW supplemental material for this set. ... Read more


    15. Schindler's List (Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Steven Spielberg
    list price: $26.98
    our price: $18.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00012QM86
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2517
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (495)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece!
    Meet Oskar Schindler. A German living in occupied Poland during World War II. A member in good standing of the Nazi party. A womanizer, a war profiteer...and ultimately a man of conscience. A man who became one of the great unsung heroes and humanitarians of the war.

    "Schindler's List" chronicles Oskar Schindler's spiritual odyssey from war profiteer to humanitarian and hero. Winner of seven Academy Awards® in 1993, including Best Picture, this harrowing and heart-rending film is Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, and perhaps one of the finest and most important movies ever made. It depicts Schindler's ultimately successful attempt to rescue 1,100 Jews from Hitler's "Final Solution" by getting them to safety outside Poland.

    Dynamic performances abound in this beautiful movie, Especially noteworthy are Liam Neeson as the suave Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as the monstrously depraved Nazi colonel, Amon Goeth, and Ben Kingsley as the dignified, principled Jewish prisoner Itzhak Stern.

    "Schindler's List" is definitely not light entertainment! This beautiful movie allows viewers to feel like they're actually a part of one of the darkest, most horrific periods in history. (I'm sure this is the reason the film was shot in black-and-white, with only minor "colorized" bits included.) The story of the Holocaust needs to be told over and over again, in hopes that future generations can understand the horrors perpetrated on an entire race of people and prevent future occurrences. "Schindler's List" is perhaps one of the best and most effective vehicles for telling that story I've ever experienced.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Whoever Saves One Life Saves the World Entire!
    That's the tagline of Steven Spielberg's 1993 holocaust epic, SCHINDLER'S LIST (a film that has inspired me with my own film, TRIANGLE). What is this film? A documentary? A memorial service? A biopic? The answer is all of the above. It is a realistic look at a man who began as a womanizing criminal and ended as a sympathetic savior to thousands of Jewish people.

    Based on Thomas Keneally's bestselling novel, it is passionate look at the Jewish struggle during the ghetto liquidation by the Nazis and in the concentration camps.

    Filmed entirely on location in Poland and in black-and-white, with some color aspects, SCHINDLER'S LIST brings to life one of the saddest chapters in history. Starring Liam Neeson as industrialist Oskar Schindler; Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth; Ben Kingsley as Schindler's accountant Itzhak Stern; and Caroline Goodall as Schindler's wife, Emilie.

    This is a film too sad to imagine, but also very important to watch and shameful to miss. Neeson does an extraordinary job in showing us the man who saved so many lives. A man whom most would call a pirate, he has shown us a brighter light. But, honestly, the one who impressed me (and shocked me the most) was Ralph Fiennes as a Nazi superior. Fiennes was known for playing romantic heroes on the London stage before playing such a dastardly role. (In the end, you can't help but cheer when he is eventually hanged.) And to Ben Kingsley (Oscar-winner for GANDHI), always the dependable one! His Stern provided me enough time to breathe a sign of relief and smile at his nervously mousy character. From his being trapped inside the train to his trying to reason with Schindler about the one-arm man's dependability working in the factory (a rare comedic moment in the film).

    This is a triumph in every way possible! To watch a man, whom we never even heard of, save thousands of lives is heart-breakingly wonderful. Good job, Steven!

    Winner of 7 Academy Awards including: Best Picture - Steven Spielberg, Branko Lustig & Gerald R. Molen; Best Director - Steven Spielberg; Best Adapted Screenplay - Steven Zaillian; Best Cinematography - Janusz Kaminski; Best Art Direction/Set Decoration - Allan Starski, Ewa Braun; Best Score - John Williams; and Best Film Eediting - Michael Kahn.

    Approximately: 3 HOURS and 17 MINUTES

    5-0 out of 5 stars **Schindler's List **
    This film from Steven Spielberg was shot in black and white and is very effective as a film to portray what happened to the Jews in Germany/Poland etc.. from the ghettos to the concentration camps. The film is very realistic in its portrayal and the environment of that time in history of the 1930's and 1940's. This is a film that you may only want to watch once. It is an excellent film. The acting is very good, the reality of the killings is very graphic. The cinematography is excellent. The only reason I think that is a film to viewed once or twice in one's life is due to the depressing nature of the film. I think it is a film that younger generations (teenagers and some people in their 20's) should see because many are coming out of school without even knowing who Adolf Hitler was and what he had done. I think it's important that they see what occurred so a repeat of history does not happen. This is an important film, but not necessarily one you want to view over and over again.

    Some other reviewers on this forum start bringing up that "other genocides occurred in history" and how come only this one is made into a film. I'm afraid folks that Spielberg didn't make an all encompassing film to include all of the past atrocities that happened in the past 1000 years. He focused just on the Holocast. Also it is just pure ignorance to deny that 5-6 million Jewish civilians were killed/murdered. Even if it was 10,000 Jews, it does not make it any better. It doesn't really matter if they were Jews or any other religion. The fact is that 6 million PEOPLE who were civilians were murdered. They were Germans, Polish, French and many other nationalities. It just happened they were of the Jewish faith that was targeted by the Nazis(Jews were used as a scapegoat to blame all of Germany's economic ills as a country on. The Nazis also killed and murdered gypsies too. The people (men, women and children) killed were white people (Jewish is not a race. It is a religion).
    Actual documentation of what the Nazi's did is on film shot by British news cameras as the American and British soldiers entered these concentration camps throughout 1945. Disease was rampant in these camps due to all the mass graves and thousands of bodies that were left to rot (by the Germans) as the British bulldozers needed to bury these corpses. My father and grandfather were in the 2nd World War as part of the American and British invasion of Germany and witnessed it first hand. That's enough proof as far as I am concerned. Yes. Not all Germans were bad people, but there were enough of them to throw the world into a World War in 1939 and to allow this to go on just a few miles from their towns and villages.

    This is a good film. Good coverage of a very bad time in world history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best Special Edition one can expect, but still...
    Although this 5 time Academy Award winning film certainly gets a beautiful presentation on disc, I both do and do not understand the complaining of the DVD presentation of Schindler's List. But first, let me discuss the benefits of the disc first.

    The picture here is impressive, although there are noticeable flaws. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture showcases excellent detail and rich black levels; at times the picture looked so good I thought that the movie was remastered by Lowery Digital Services. But then minor flaws show up, such as excessive grain and minor print flaws (such as in the sequence where Schindler Jews are calling out their names, I spotted a vertical line). Flaws aside, the picture is still beautiful and Janusz Kaminski's photography is put to good use here.

    The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Surround. All Dolby and DTS tracks give a sense of place to the film, and while the tracks aren't bass-heavy, they fit the movie's tone perfectly. It demonstrates excellent stereo separation and bass response, all the while not calling attention to itself. The two-sided disc cuts down on cost, and the menus allow one to access each part of the DVD with considerable ease. (The movie is also given French and Spanish spoken languages and subtitles, while the extras have optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.)

    Now, the disadvantages. I know people were expecting an extras-packed version of this movie, but we only have two real extras included; the "Voices From the List" Featurette and "Behind the Shoah Visual Foundation" Featurette. Both are good extras detailing the various stories recounted by actual Schindler Jews, and while these are substantial enough, I had the feeling more could've been added. If Spielberg were to do commentaries, I would appreciate one done for this film, and the addition of the theatrical trailer would help too. Inclusion of those two extras would've added much more to the DVD.

    Still, quibble about the extras aside, the disc release of this film gives newcomers a chance to be introduced to one of Spielberg's greatest cinematic achievements ever made, with great picture and sound. It may not always be easy viewing, but the impact it leaves is indelible and unforgettable. For fans of Spielberg's work and this movie, this disc is a must-have, despite the slim extras. (If you're intent on having more, the gift set is a viable option. Along with the DVD, it also includes a booklet, the movie's soundtrack CD, certificate of authenticity, a photo still book and a Plexiglas keep case.)

    1-0 out of 5 stars History repeating it's self?
    Why don't we hear about other genocides, like the ones in Russia and Turkey that inspired the German one? The movie was so distorted and stereotypical it's ridicules. The nazi's weren't all-bad and the Jews weren't all good. Jews aren't as innocent as they are portrayed. This could be due to Hollywood being monopolized by them. See how much trouble Mel Gibson had when he tried make a movie that portrayed Jews as less than perfect. If they had really went through all that trauma, why would they go to Palestine and commit the same atrocities only decades before to the Arabs? Schindler's List is just one of the yearly Jewish propaganda films that are thrown at us, like the pianist for ex. And worst of all, every year schools have to show this movie to young children. And Disney show's this movie every yr on the wonderful world of Disney. Why is this gruesome movie targeted at kids I have no idea. "so we won't forget the past my A**" ... Read more


    16. The Garden Of The Finzi Continis
    Director: Vittorio De Sica
    list price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005BJX7
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 21191
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (15)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A BITTERSWEET AND TRAGIC COMING OF AGE FILM...
    This film, which won an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Picture in 1971, is set in Ferrara, Italy. It begins in 1938 and focuses on the aristocratic jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, in particular, the progeny of that family, Micol (Dominique Sanda) and Alberto (Helmut Berger). These privileged two live in elegant splendor with their family, removed from the harshness of life outside the walls of their lushly beautiful estate, where the fascist regime of Il Duce is beginning its hellish collaboration with Hitler.

    The Finzi-Continis family, secular jews at best, shut out the outside world, esconcing themselves amidst the trappings of wealth and privilege, cocooned in their idyllic estate, as if their wealth and position would hold the hostile world at bay. It is as if they believed that the hostility against Italian Jews would not directly touch them. Micol and Alberto even have Aryan good looks. So, what could go wrong?

    Their childhood friend, Giorgio, however, is having a different experience. From a middle class, jewish family, he is more in touch with reality and is feeling the impact of virulent anti-semitism, as he finds himself ousted from the university and its library, on the brink of completing his university degree. His brother has left for Switzerland. His father is in denial, thinking that he should not worry about the small things, and that this is all a tempest in a teapot. He is hanging his hat on the premise that he is, after all, an Italian citizen.

    As their world begins to crumble all around them, Giorgio tries to kindle a flame between himself and Micol, whom he has loved since childhood, but his love for her remains unrequited. She seems unable and unwilling to vest her emotions in a romance that is destined to be doomed, as the fates conspire to bring them to the same end that jews throughout Europe were meeting. It is this dance of love between them that anchors the movie, however, while the war plays itself out in the background. There comes a point, however, when even the Finzi-Continis are confronted with a reality far harsher than that which they had ever imagined.

    The movie plays out the dichotomy of life found outside the walls of the gardens of the Finzi-Continis and that which is set within their beautiful and lush estate. Against a backdrop of Hitler worship and the fascist dictates of Mussolini, largely shown through newsreel footage, the film shows the positions that ordinary italian citizens took when confronted with the dictates of the racial laws that were imposed against the jews. Some went along willingly, carrying out its dictates, while others tried to help where and when they could. The war against the jews is finally brought right to the doorstep of the home of the Finzi-Continis, until it, too, crosses the threshhold and cruelly invades its idyllic environs.

    This film is not an action movie but a slow, occassionally ponderous, film, providing much food for thought. Replete with symbolism, it is merely a peek into the lives of a small group of people. It is about how they dealt with living their lives in the shadow of the final solution, as the world that they knew radically changed, destroying their dreams. It is a harsh coming of age movie and not a film that everyone will enjoy. I found myself curiously twixt and tween in terms of how I felt about this somber film, accounting for the three star rating that I accorded it.

    The DVD offers next to nothing by way of special features. It contains a brief filmography of some of the actors and not much else. This Italian language film has been remastered, and the subtitles are yellow, which provides more clarity and, consequently, makes for easier reading.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet....
    In "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1970)--based on the autobiographical novel by Giorgio Bassani--legendary Neorealist filmmaker, Vittorio de Sica, dramatizes the human cost of the "racial laws" gradually implemented against the Jews in Fascist Italy during the years 1938-43. The more Bassani's young middle-class Jewish protagonist feels the brunt of Mussolini's anti-Semitic edicts encroaching upon him, the more he feels drawn to the aristocratic Jewish Finzi-Continis' estate--their Edenic "garden"--and to Micòl, the family's beautiful young daughter. Psychologically, this compulsion seems to stem from a deep emotional attachment to a perpetually innocent, untroubled state of childhood, which both Micòl and her garden seem to represent. Throughout the film, there is a marked conflict between childhood and adulthood, between the distant past and the immediate present, between the act of retreating into a world of comfortable illusions and confronting a world of harsh and bitter realities.

    I found this particular aspect of the story very fascinating, although too tantalizingly obscure and open-ended--and thus, not quite as illuminating or fulfilling as it might have been were it more clearly explained. (This could the reason why some people find the film--and its heavily symbolic, impressionistic style--a little confusing and underwhelming.)

    For Giorgio--both the naive hero and wisened author of the story--Micòl embodies the mystery and allure of the Finzi-Continis, as well as their insularity and their apparent passivity in the face of the escalating Fascist crackdown. She always appears distant and unattainable, with no obvious reasons for her actions, and never really provides a direct, comprehensible explanation for her insistent rejection of Giorgio or for what appears to be a subtle streak of cruelty towards him. Her conversation with him always seems deliberately vague, and her refusal to make any further connection with him has a curious, almost perverse kind of fatalism about it.

    Again, this is another feature of the film that is certainly intriguing--and strangely seductive-- but, alas, never quite pays off enough to become fully understandable to either the protagonist or the audience.

    When the Fascists finally do arrest the Finzi-Continis and confiscate their estate it comes as something of a surprise. The muted and deliberately spare representation of these characters and their feelings, as evidenced in their unusually restrained behavior, is meant to isolate and heighten the impact of a few devastating strokes of sudden realization and lucidity--pointed indications that the protective spell of the Finzi-Continis has been finally broken.

    All in all, well-acted and gorgeously, languidly poetic in its imagery...yet, narrative-wise, the picture seems overly elliptical and ultimately opaque--and leaves just a few too many rough fragments and loose ends lingering at the end of the story (not quite Proustian irony, maybe?). In spite of this peculiar drawback, the film finishes very effectively, and by the final desolate shots, you are left with an unexpectedly intense feeling of loss and anguish.

    "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" is a very unusual and interesting (and thankfully, non-sentimental and non-self-important) addition to the ever-expanding canon of dramatic films about life in the shadow of the Holocaust.

    Good show. I give this one four out of five stars.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Politics of World War II Italy
    This movie introduced to me a brand new character, the Jewish Italian hot blonde girl. Since she is also named Finzi Contini and the object of our hero's desire it couldn't have been a better idea. But it's not just an unrequited love film, but a movie set during World War II. An American film such as this would spend a great deal of time reminding you how horrible the Nazis were, but instead we get the nuance points of views like the anti-fascist handsome man that blonde Finzi Contini thinks is too Communist. We also get the fascist Hero of father that thinks that Italian fascism is superior to Nazism and will solve the world's problems. These kinds of perspectives are ignored in American film or marginalized, when we all know they existed during this time period.

    I don't have to tell you what is going to happen in a film about Jewish Heroes when the Nazis are coming, you already know. Our hero loses his girl to the communist and then eventually to the holocaust. It would certainly register as one of the biggest coming of age bummers, and yet it didn't ruin the film. It somehow gave these lives even more importance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Film, Great Director, Great Cast, Great Story
    Thank you Independent Film Channel for sending this one along just when I most needed a palate cleanser after suffering through CENTRAL STATION. It served as the perfect antidote to that bit of system churning mess. If you want to see a director in action who can actually get performers to "put out," and actually act their ###es off, try queueing this one up in your DVD player some evening.

    Dominique Sanda earned her reputation off this film. She is the quintissentially complex heroine of the piece. Is she frigid, incestous, frightened, unable to love, passive-aggressive, or something else? We'll never know, but we will always wonder, thanks to fine script-writing, acting and directing. This is old school De Sica surehandedness at play in the fields of the lord here. Rent or buy this. It will never grow old, as it is a true classic.

    BEK

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Tale of Lost Love and Liberty
    This movie is just so beautifully done. It is not a hard or complicated plot to grasp but it is filmed with such, emotion. The visual style, the long moments of nature mixed with youth and fear of the upcoming future. This is the time of Fascism and the rich Jewish families are the next on the list to be sent to concentration camps. The most wealthy family in the town of Ferrara, Italy isolates with their friends, staying inside their garden. No more clubs, tennis matches, or balls, if anything is done it is done on their property with the people they chose to associate with. The love story is between Michol and Giorgio, childhood friends who never got any further than long wishful gazes. Michol finds that Giorgio is someone she loves more as a friend than a lover, Giorgio loves Michol so much and wants her to be his wife. He has a difficult time accepting Michol's decision and this is all wrapped around the dark and dreary time of Fascism. The garden symbolizes the past and the way of life that had once been. The story is about loss, loss of the life that the people in Ferrara once had and the loss of childhood love and the innocence that went with it. The camera work is just breathtaking as well as thought provoking.

    Lisa Nary ... Read more


    17. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
    Director: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00007G1ZC
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2049
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    One of the most visionary, deeply personal works in the 60-year career of the master behind Rashomon, The Seven Samurai and Ran. Featuring eight episodes rich in imagery and insight (and casting MARTIN SCORSESE as a feisty Vincent Van Gogh), it explores the costs of war, the perils of nuclear power and especially humankind's need to harmonize with nature. You will be enchanted ... and enthralled. ... Read more

    Reviews (90)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Beauty. Glorious and a Masterpiece!
    I love this Film! It contains eight Dreams, Sunshine Through the Rain, The Peach Orchard, The Blizzard, The Tunnel, Crows, Mount Fuji in Red, The Weeping Demon and Village of the Watermills. Every Dream is unique, beautifull and Breathtaking.

    The Dreams shows us how destructive humans are towards the nature and ourselves. Kurosawa criticizes the past, the presence and the future.

    Kurosawa (not the real kurosawa) plays in every Dream, from when he was a child in Sunshine through the Rain to when he is old and visits the Village of the Watermills.

    All in all This is the best film ever and my personal favorite Kurosawa film. Its Beauty is so splendid and I loved every single Dream. I encourage everyone in the world to watch this film. The Masters Masterpiece

    5-0 out of 5 stars Captivatingly beautiful
    I am a huge Akira Kurosawa fan, I love all of his movies that I have seen. I am always impressed at his masterful story telling and cinematography. "Dreams" holds a special place in my heart because of it's breathtaking beauty. Beyond "eye candy", however, this film speaks intelligently of many things, life, death, solitude, guilt, redemption. This is one of those rare movies that can be discussed and analyzed and questioned for hours after viewing.

    The Amazon.com review stated that this movie was "slow". How could one notice when one is busy looking at the amazing color, scenery, and imagery that is so masterfully created? "Preachy"? Perhaps, but they are good subjects to be preachy about - nuclear distruction, environmental distruction, not appreciating what one has... These complaints are the weak wingeing of shallow minds.

    After every viewing of his films, I feel compelled to bow respectfully and say "Domo Arigato - Thank you very much".

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Kurosawa's Best
    I first saw this on TV and taped it. I was blown away by the visual beauty and terror of it all. The last story about the windmills? That is how I want my funeral. Music and joy, not tears and sadness. We all die, but it is how we live that really matters.

    3-0 out of 5 stars OK, really only for Kurosawa Die Hard Fans
    The first short story was really cool. The others were Ok. Not really much to say. This was my first Kurosawa film. Wasn't too impressed. Was impressed with Hidden Fortress and Really impressed with 7 Samurai.
    Rent-Maybe
    Buy-No

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
    In just eight "dreams," Akira Kurosawa managed to capture my attention and, most importantly, my heart. These many stories, some on the personal level individually and some on the personal level culturally, continue to evoke thought and emotion the whole way.

    Amazingly, I can see these dreams in sections themselves. The first two, "Sunshine Through the Rain" and "The Peach Orchard" both involve a young Kurosawa (we can assume). While "Sunshine" may take a dark and very depressing turn, "Orchard" offers some hope in its symbolic ending of the lone orchard and the young boy going after the girl.

    The third dream, "The Blizzard," seemed at first to me like a story all its own, but the book "The Films of Akira Kurosawa," by Donald Richie, explains it as the tale of an "adolescent Kurosawa," although I would prefer to guess it as a fictional "mountain man Kurosawa" as the next tale offers a fictional "officer Kurosawa." (again, to quote Richie) Lost in a snow storm, the adolescent Kurosawa sees a "yuki-onna," or snow-woman, who warms him until the storm lifts and it reveals their camp. When I first saw this tale I thought it was the slowest thing I had ever seen, but the second time it was far more fascinating. The sound affects are well done, and the shots of the pure white blizzard and dark shapes of the four struggling men became beautiful in a haunting manner. And, of course, the yuki-onna was a nice touch.

    The fourth dream is called "The Tunnel" and shows us an "officer Kurosawa" returning from the war. As he walks through a long tunnel he is revisited by his former comrades-in-arms...who had been lost in the war. This reflects the inner feelings of many Japanese soldiers returning from WWII, feeling as if they had failed their nation and their friends, and the agony of returning defeated with no gain in sight.

    The next few films take a young adult Kurosawa in different dream-like circumstances, most often as observer. To me, these are the most fascinating ones, as the Kurosawa character in each is more of an observer, asking characters in his dream at what is happening and why. Starting with "Crows," Kurosawa actually ENTERS an Impressionist painting, heading off to meet Van Gogh in person. He continues to travel through different paintings as if they were real environments, which Kurosawa once explained in person he would often imagine himself doing when he looked upon great pieces of art. I have to confess that this sequence is a double-plus for me...not only is it done by my favorite film maker Akira Kurosawa, but Van Gogh is played by Martin Scorcese, another film maker I adore.

    The next two sequences, "Mount Fuji in Red" and "The Weeping Demon" portray nightmares about a Japan that might be. The first is a more possible story about a nuclear fallout of Japan's nuclear power plants - which causes Mount Fuji to erupt and howl like an awakened god. Some consider this as nothing more than another anti-nuclear sentiment from Japan, but I believe it to be instead a classic Japanese nightmare of a horrible event happening on their island and they have no where to run to - a similar type of story was done in a 1960's about Japan sinking into the sea and no one offering any aide to the survivors. "Demon" tells the story of Japan after a nuclear war, combining apocalyptic storytelling with Japanese legend. The Kurosawa character comes across a deformed man with one horn, called an oni but in actuality a victim of radiation. Society has become nothing but demons who eat each other based on a class system, but every night howling in pain caused by their horns. The shot of the entire oni race howling and walking about as humanity's doomed future is perhaps one of the most frightening shots I've seen on film.

    The final dream, "Village of the Watermills," is actually fairly positive after the last two. Kurosawa comes across a village of primitive people and has a chat with an old man fixing a new watermill. Much of it is the old man's philosophy on life and how society is going, including the efforts of science and technology.

    While this film may not have the narrative storyline or be fast-paced enough for some, I have found this film to be very meditative. Some images, including the blizzard as well as the dance of the dolls, can be very hypnotic, and by the end of the film I even found myself watching during the credits to observe the plants in the water. Obviously this was a very personal work, but it is also a very moving one at that. It was also meditative in sense of emotion, for I feel so many different things watching this: I feel sadness in "Sunshine," I feel sentimental in "Tunnel," I feel horrified in "Demon," and hopeful in "Village." In being personal with himself, Kurosawa has made this film personal for the viewer. I am not Japanese, and I don't pretend to be, but I am also human - and human sentiment is what this film is all about. ... Read more


    18. Europa Europa
    Director: Agnieszka Holland
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $13.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00007KQ9X
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7184
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (40)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A World Turned Upside Down and Inside Out: Could You Survive
    This is one of the best films in the genre--historial film from autobiography. Marco Hofschneider brings to brilliant life the story of Salamon Perel, a German Jew. From the days of Kristallnacht--the Night of Broken Glass, when Jewish businesses were trashed and vandalized throughout Germany, to his final reunification with his brother--to poignant to say more about this here...this is a cinematic masterpiece.

    I've seen few films that capture the turmoil of adolescent identity and identification so well. True, the Nazi era is the backdrop, but the themes couldn't be more universal. In that respect, it is also more relevant today, in 2004, than during the 1980s, when it was filmed--especially in America, where the American identity has been deconstructed so as to be hardly palpable. Also, it is equally relevant in Europe, where national distinctions could meld into a Confederacy if not a Union of some power.

    Politics aside, this is an intensely personal film, one where the unquestioned identity of youth (German) falls victim to oncoming War and cruel happenstance. Perel must continually revise his vision OF himself and FOR himself, and at one point wishes for nothing more than to be an Nazi, for a beautiful young German girl becomes enfatuated with him. How did he end up in this position, wearing the uniform of the Hitler Youth at an Elite boarding school in Berlin? Or lose his virginity to a high-ranking female Party member while he is escorted by train from the Eastern Front to Berlin, as a Folk Hero (Volksdeutscher Held). Perhaps you think it unimaginable. I do not.

    I've seen places in German where the remnants of Jewish culture and tradition are clear as day--such as a former High School for Jews in Berlin--with Hebrew and German inscribed clearly in the stones.

    No, though Germany seems to some a heartless pillar of unemotionality, efficiency, heartlessness, the German characters in Europa, Europa are as human as those found anywhere. They fall victim to their personal aspirations, desire to please, deceitfulness, betrayal...simply put, human.

    Although current fashion is to think of the period as one of the "banality of evil" (attributed to Hannah Arendt, Holocaust scholar), this film exposes the period as one more of human triumph and tragedy, and that, while we grow into adulthood, our personal identity is as much at the mercy of the passage of time and events as a unique, solitary construction.

    See this film! It will draw you into the themes of Life, Love, and Redemption, and be over leaving you desperate for more.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Your friend, your enemy, you....
    I caught this movie originally on cable a few minutes into the film and was instantly intrigued and completely confused. A Jewish kid in the German Army? And the Hitler Youth? And in love with a German girl who says nice things like 'If there were a Jew here right now, I'd cut his throat!' right before she asks him to father her child. What the hell was going on here?

    What was going on was 'Europa, Europa', an outstanding and often funny (true) story of a teen of German-Jewish extraction named Jupp who in 1939 was in the Communist Youth League in one of the Soviet-occupied Baltic territories, and ended up being captured by the Germans when they invaded the USSR in 1941. Naturally he concealed his Jewish identity and, believing him to be Volksdeutsch (a non-German of German blood, and therefore automatically a German citizen under Hitler's laws) the Wehrmacht drafted him as a soldier-translator. This begins Jupp's double life....a few months ago he was a Communist and a Jew, and now he's a German and a Nazi....just imagine this kid's confusion. The soldiers of his unit adopt him as a sort of mascot, and even when one of the soldiers discovers his secret, he does not betray him. The mutual affection between Jupp and the soldiers becomes real over time, and leads to Jupp's first crisis of identity: how can he be friends and comrades with men who believe Jews are evil, sub-human scum? Things get even more complicated when the violently anti-Semetic commander of the unit offers to adopt Jupp and send him back to Germany to join a Hitler Youth hostel. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

    Jupp finds the Hitler Youth both a dream and a nightmare. On the one hand, much of the Nazi propaganda turns out to be true -- the boys are tough, fun-loving, comradely, and loyal. They enjoy their singing, marching, and sports, and they are truly inspired by the destruction of snobbery and class privelege which was a central objective of National Socialism (Nazism). On the other hand, they sing charming songs like "sharpen your knives on the paving stone, the Jewish blood will run" and spend time in class learning to 'spot' Jews and other sub-humans through racial characteristics (Jupp is selected as a good example of Baltic Aryan blood). These kids remind you of darling young tiger cubs that will grow up into man-eaters: they are both charming and frightening.

    Much of the movie is a black-comic attempt by Jupp to fit in as a loyal German youth while hiding his Jewish identity from his friends, which is tough on account of being circumcised in a society where circumcision was performed only among Jews (there are some lengths Jupp goes to to disguise this fact that will make any man watching EXTREMELY uncomfortable....I kept thinking "God, that poor kid!"). As you can imagine, when he falls for a lovely Arayan maiden, disguising this fact becomes even harder.

    As the war roars towards its conclusion, Jupp is torn by the loyalty and sense of belonging he feels in the HJ/Nazi Germany and his true identity. After the defeat at Stalingrad, the mourning boys gather and sing poignantly together as brothers, and Jupp mourns with them. The fact that he is clearly not faking shows the turmoil and conflict in his young heart. Is he Jupp, the Jew, or Jupp, the Nazi?

    "Europa, Europa" is different from 'Holocaust' type movies in that it injects a lot of humor into otherwise horrible situations without cheapening what happened. This is an undeniably tragic and moving film; it is also pretty damn funny. But it will also make you mad, and the really infuriating thing for the viewer is the colossal waste of it all -- the movie shows how the egalitarian ideals of National Socialism inspired, moved, and united young people, but was perverted by race hatred, anti-Semetism, and bloodlust, and ulyimately had to be destroyed at a terrible cost to everybody involved. What a stupid, criminal waste of millions of able young men, who were taught to hate people really no different than themselves. What a pity the Germans chose to forget the many Jews who served ably and courageously for their country in World War I, and bought into Hitler's insane hatred of them, a hatred which was not only stupid but hypocritical. After all, the man who in 1917 or so recommended a young Corporal Hitler for his Iron Cross First Class was a lieutnant named Hugo Gutmann....but somehow I'm willing to bet that fact never came up in any Hitler Youth class. Too bad for Jupp, and too bad for Europa.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing story based on true events¿
    Europa Europa is set in the year before and during the World War II in Europe. The story is based on the true events of the young boy, Salomon "Solly" Perel (Marco Hofschneider), son of a shopkeeper in Poland who experienced brutality through the eye of the enemy as he had to disguise himself in order to survive as his heritage was Jewish. Initially Solly escapes the German's wearing a Nazi leather coat with the Swastika on the arm, which becomes his first disguise or act in order to survive. This continues throughout the film where Solly must hide his true identity, which deals with his circumcision, culture, and background. The constant acting by Solly leads him to begin to feel unsure about his true identity as he tries to assimilate into Nazi-German culture and reject himself. At one point Solly's feelings towards his Jewish background are close to hatred as he also struggles with the natural dilemmas of a teenager such as identity and love. Europa Europa is a dark coming of age film depicting the terrible destiny of Solly as he grows up as a pro-Nazi in order to survive and have self-discovery while hiding himself from himself. When the audience stretches their legs during the end credits there will be much room for pondering and contemplation as Europa Europa leaves the viewers with an excellent cinematic experience.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Warning - Not Much Of This Movie Is True
    Mr. Perel's story - that is to say, his autobiography - is interesting and compelling. Regretably, this movie has taken literary license to an unfortunate extreme. "Leni," his girlfriend of sorts at the Hitler Youth School, was never pregnant in real life. At the end of the war, he was actually captured by the Americans in his sleep rather than the dramatic capture by the Russians depicted in the movie. He never captured a Russian position as depicted in the movie or otherwise. And, the homosexual German soldier depicted in the movie didn't merely make a casual pass at Perel - he actually tried to rape Perel on a number of occassions, once by trying to knock him out with chloroform (And yet in the end he did keep Perel's secret and they did become friends, as depicted in the movie). Not only was the movie full of drama that never happened, it also cut out significant events which did occur in real life - for example, Perel confronted his classmates and teachers at the end of the war. A very good movie, yes, but it irks me a great deal that so many "facts" were concocted out of thin air, at the expense of many true compelling events. I therefore do not recommend this movie, and instead recommmend Perel's book, and also the book "Hiding in Plain Sight" by Betty Lauer, which was published in March 2004.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this movie !!!
    This movie is excellent! I can't believe more of my friends don't know this movie. It is truly an underrated movie by mainstream people, especially since it's a true story about a holocaust survivor. Even the music score is awesome. The music was written by Zbigniew Preisner, who has the most intense and sad music ever written for a holocaust movie. It's a crime that this movie is underrated by the mainstream. At least it won many film awards by independent film makers back in the early 1990s. There is justice afterall!!! ... Read more


    19. Shanghai Ghetto
    Director: Dana Janklowicz-Mann, Amir Mann
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $24.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0006Q93A6
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7090
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    One of the most amazing and captivating survival tales of WWII, the overwhelmingly acclaimed SHANGHAI GHETTO has been declared "a don’t miss documentary...powerful...eye-opening" (New York Observer). Stirringly narrated by Academy Award winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood, The Majestic), SHANGHAI GHETTO recalls the strange-but-true story of thousands of European Jews who were shut out of country after country while trying to escape Nazi persecution in the late 1930s. Left without options or entrance visas, a beacon of hope materialized for them on the other side of the world, and in the unlikeliest of places, Japanese-controlled Shanghai. Fleeing for their lives, these Jewish refugees journeyed to form a settlement in the exotic city, penniless and unprepared for their new life in the Far East. At the turn of the new millennium, filmmakers Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amire Mann boldly snuck into China with two survivors and a digital camera to shoot at the site of the original Shanghai Ghetto, unchanged since WWII. Their never-before-seen recordings--along with interviews of survivors and historians, rare letters, stock footage, still photos, and an orignal score by Sujin Nam and Chinese Erhu performer Karen Han (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)--depicts an incredibly moving portrayal of a rich cultural life, bravely constructed under enormous hardship. DVD Features: Filmmaker Commentary; Deleted Interviews; Hebrew/English Subtitles; Theatrical Trailer; Filmmaker Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lost Story of Painful Escape - A Good Cinematic Experience
    A couple of years before World War II, Europe and the United States turned their back on millions Jews in Europe that tried to escape an increasing persecution.Nations closed their borders after a political meeting between several nations with Germany in the center that led nowhere.Hitler used the result of the meeting as an invitation to increase the intensity of the Jewish persecution.Some Jews were fortunate enough to escape to neighboring countries while many were escorted back to the German border and handed to the Gestapo.However, far away on the other side of the world some fortunate Jews that had the financial means to escape found a loophole - Shanghai.

    Japan and China had been in war, which led to the occupation of Shanghai.The Japanese forces were not checking passports, as people arrived to Shanghai by ships.The Chinese government had been abandoned, as was the passport control. Thus, Jews could leave Germany, even though their passports had been restricted or revoked, to peacefully enter Shanghai.A pleasurable four-week voyage through the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean led the escaping Jews to their destination, Shanghai.

    Arrivals were initially shocked by the environment to which they arrived.This culture crash had its foundation in several new experiences such as the extreme humidity, high temperature, different written and spoken language, and new food among many other things.Yet, the 20,000 Jews that arrived found a way to cope in the new society.This is much thanks to the British Jews that had lived in Shanghai since the beginning of the century who had acquired much wealth.In the years before World War II and in the beginning of the war the newcomers basically founded their own miniature society within Shanghai.Coffee shops, newspapers, sports events, and much more offered an outlet where the Jews could live a life much like in Europe.

    As the war increasingly intensified the Germans who were allies with Japan pressured the Japanese to create a ghetto in Shanghai for the Jews.The Japanese slowly established this ghetto, but it was very unlike the ghetto in Warsaw, Poland.Nonetheless, food became scarce while starvation and disease made life much more difficult, which even cost several people their lives.Despite the difficulties in Shanghai, the Jews never learned how lucky they were until the end of the war.When the terribly tragic news of the death camps in Europe reached them in Shanghai this moment brought them a heavy sadness, as they realized how lucky they were while reflecting on their relatives and family members' horrific fate.

    Shanghai Ghetto offers an interesting cinematic journey, as a number of people offer first hand accounts of what it was like to live in the Shanghai Ghetto.One man tells how traumatic it was to experience the bombing of Shanghai at the end of the war.A woman also expresses her contempt for Germany and how she now has no surviving relatives, which is very hard to hear, as one cannot even imagine the pain she must feel.These stories that the audience experiences through film provides and reinforces an important notion - let this never happen again. ... Read more


    20. The Man Who Cried
    Director: Sally Potter
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005R87R
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2528
    Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Fans of the testudinate pace and art-house vibe of writer-director Sally Potter's other works (Orlando, The Tango Lesson) will likely enjoy The Man Who Cried. Fegele (Christina Ricci) is a Russian Jew separated from her father as a child. Raised as "Susie" by an English family, she makes her way to Paris, where although the city's multiculturalism is vibrant, the Nazis are already on the rise and the secret of her origin becomes increasingly dangerous. The cast of The Man Who Cried is excellent; Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, John Turturro, and Harry Dean Stanton all do fine jobs in what could have easily degenerated into an accentfest. Depp and Ricci do very well with minimal dialogue--both go through the entire movie almost without speaking. The film moves at a leisurely pace and is beautifully shot. Not a film to show to a roomful of action movie fans, but it's well suited to people who like their films a little more European in flavor. --Ali Davis ... Read more

    Reviews (50)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Actors' Showcase
    This is a great "acting" movie. The stars are great, but the rest of the movie was missing something--my interest.

    I'm not saying it was bad. The acting was wonderful, masterful even. The cast consists of Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, John Turturro, and Cate Blanchett, all doing work that is equivalent to their best. Ricci, especially, as the main character, gets to run the gamut of emotions and I couldn't take my eyes off her. Blanchett does a thick accent that is hard to understand sometimes, but her performance was as good as I've seen her give. And as for Depp and Turturro, well, they don't make wrong moves. Even if they are in bad films now and again, they can always be depended upon to give superb performances.

    No, the cast was not the problem. It was the story. I just didn't care what was happening. I liked watching great actors practice their craft, and I cared about them, but I couldn't get involved in the story. I know there was some subplot involving a white horse, but I couldn't tell you the significance, except to make the Johnny Depp character look sensitive, but he does that anyway.

    I would definitely recommend it for fans of the actors, but I couldn't recommend it as entertainment.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A visually beautiful film in the shadow of oppression...
    A Russian-Jewish man travels alone to the United States in order start a better life for his family, which he intends to send for when he has raised enough money. However, the communist rule under Stalin separates the family which leads to the death of the mother and the escape of the daughter, Suzie (Christina Ricci). Suzie's escape brings her to England where she is adopted and forced to assimilate to the British traditions and culture that eradicates her of her own past. Years later when Suzie has reached adulthood she travels to Paris with hopes to raise money that can bring her to her father in the United States. In Paris she meets love, dreams, hope, and horror as she must face anti-Semitism brought to France by the Nazi's during World War II. Man Who Cried is visually stunning as it portrays the struggles of Suzie and those around her in a time of hostility. The visual elements are also enhanced by a terrific cast such as Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro and many more. In the end, Potter ties together a meaningful cinematic experience that has both historical value as well as morals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful artistic masterpiece of a film.
    No, it's not a fast-paced story. It's slow, it is subtle, and you have to savor it to really enjoy it. Performances by everyone are perfectly wonderful. Turturo & Blanchett especially, Stanton included. Very well done. I loved it. If you reflect on the film after you see it, you realize how much LIFE this girl lived. Beautiful movie. Underappreciated.

    5-0 out of 5 stars \m/
    I haven't seen this film either but I still give it 5 stars because it ... has Johnny in it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust goes Hollywood...literally!
    From an impoverished Jewish settlement in Russie to the soundstages of Hollywood, this well intentioned but overwrought melodrama seems much longer than its nearly two hours.

    In spite of the interesting, original premise, the story goes south with incessant lipsynching and an improbable melange of accents. Christina Ricci's tragic waif, "Susie," isn't a viable heroine in spite of excellent performances by the stars surrounding her. Blanchett, as usual, steals the show and captivates every moment of her screen time. ... Read more


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