28 August 2009

Photography Friday (3)

More often than not, I try to avoid WWII films. I mean, I've seen my share. So, naturally, for me to take the time (and expend the energy, because for obvious reasons, those kinds of movies can be exhausting) the movie must be top quality, must shed new light—not sentimental tripe.

A few have made it into my Netflix queue over the past couple of years (*update: Fateless, Downfall, Sophie Scholl, The Counterfeiters, Black Book — in order of appreciation, with the last title in a distant fifth), and so I figured I'd post this third round (see the first and second rounds) of photographs that are related to WWII. All shots were taken on a Canon AE-1 with Kodak E100VS (slide film). Click on an image to get a closer look.

The Reichstag building in Berlin. The burning of the building in 1933 served
as a major impetus for the Nazi party to suspend many rights and root out dissidents.

The New Synagogue in Berlin (built from 1859–66), site of the famous
standoff between a German police officer and a Nazi mob who were
attempting to destroy the building during the Novemberpogrom.

Shot of Buchenwald concetration camp, where the prisoner barracks
once stood, and, specifically, where Dietrich Bonhoeffer's barrack stood.
Most of the camp was demolished in 1950.

The ash containers of Buchenwald

The ovens of Buchenwald

Another angle


Anonymous said...

Names!!! We want names!!!!

I'm referring to the films, of course, lest anyone should mistakenly think I was doing a distasteful Nazi interrogator impression.

Chris Donato said...

Ah, names. But what if someone deems them sentimental tripe?



The Counterfeiters

Black Book

In that order. I'll update the post to include this list.

Anonymous said...

thanks for updating....

I haven't seen the first three on your list, but I recently saw black book, and glad to see that it is last in order of appreciation. I suppose it wasn't horrible - in fact, I would watch it again before something like Saving Private Ryan - but let's face it, we are talking about the creative mind that gave us Basic Instinct and Showgirls :)

Anonymous said...

BTW, I just looked up the other three... I haven't seen Downfall, but I did see the documentary it was based on: Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary. It was basically a talking head doc - I would have loved to have seen a little more creativity - but it was still riveting. Downfall is now on my queue.

Chris Donato said...

I guess that explains the extended nakedness in Black Book.

I just realized I forgot Sophie Scholl. Unacceptable. I'll have to add it to the list now.

Anonymous said...

Well, hopefully extended nakedness remains his calling card. I certainly don't want to see any more poo showers in future movies.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I knew I had discussed WWII movies with someone a few months ago. I just finished The Counterfeiters earlier today... very good. Very challenging as well....
Speaking of WWII movies, have you seen Inglorious Basterds? If so, what did you think?

Chris Donato said...

Counterfeitors was challenging, not least in its exploraton of the thin line between being a moral and volitional creature and brutish, bestial instincts.

I have not yet seen Inglorious Basterds, but feel free to divulge your thoughts here.

Anonymous said...

A few things stuck out to me upon my first viewing of Counterfeitors: 1) Sometimes living with your choices is much worse than facing the consequences... or even dying. 2) The men who chose to do the right thing, or couldn't handle doing the wrong thing, were the ones who had families, while the ones who were in "survival mode" didn't have families, or were not discussed in the film... I might be wrong about this, but that's my recall after one viewing, 3) Not many WWII movies that portray the Nazis as the antagonist deal with the horrors the German people faced when Russia invaded. At least in this movie there is a sense of the impending doom. I felt sorry for Herzog's wife and children, who were clueless of the atrocities of the camps, and could possibly have been victims of the Russians. I once read where 1/3 of the children born in Germany after the war were half German, half Russian from rape.
You need to see Inglorious Basterds, but don't go in expecting Pulp Fiction part 2. There is a little violence, of course some of Tarantino's quirkiness, but it is very original and interesting. Most of the movie is subtitled with Germans, French and Italians speaking their language. The man in Counterfeiters who refused to help the Nazis and sabotaged the fake dollars plays a great role in this film. I won't talk more about it because I don't want to spoil anything for you, but let me know when you see it. It's definitely a top 5 of the year for me, maybe top 3.

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