It’s been a rough week for free expression. One in which all of us have had to ruminate on our willingness to accept images and ideas we find troubling as well as what we do to end violence in the name of any –ism, be it religious, political or the simple opposition to something we find alien or out of the norm.
This is far from a new struggle. The tough part is we’ve sometimes had the perfect opportunity to take a hard look at such evils and opted to protect ourselves from the pain instead.
In the spring of 1945, the advancing Allied armies in Europe came across a town called Bergen-Belsen, discovering the massive horror of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution”.
After seeing footage from embedded photographers of the concentration camp, the British government commissioned a documentary to tell the world of its horrors.
Alfred Hitchcock volunteered to lead the team, overseeing the script and recruiting the best combat cameramen from all the Allied nations. What Hitchcock delivered was one of the most powerful indictments of inhumanity ever seen.
And it was never released.
There are many theories on why that happened, from a concern over how it might hamper the reconstruction of Europe to Britain’s own problem with Palestinian Jews clamoring for a homeland.
Now, 70 years later, film-maker Andre Singer has revived Hitchcock’s project with his new documentary “Night Will Fall”.
Using footage from the original film combined with interviews with the men who shot it, camp survivors and some involved in its suppression, Singer has created a powerful indictment of not only the danger of blind dedication to any ideology but the greater danger that comes from those who shush or scold others into silence.
The film will receive a Global broadcast on January 27th. HBO in Canada.
Enjoy Your Sunday.