Should Hollywood Stop Making Holocaust Movies?

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, from left: Michael Fassbender, Caleb Landry Jones, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Lucas Till, 2011, ph: Murray Close/TM and Copyright ?20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection

20th Century Fox Film Via Everett Collection


If the recent release of The Monuments Men proves anything, it’s that Hollywood should stop making Holocaust movies.

There’s no denying that The Holocaust was a horrific event, and that we should make every effort to remind young generations that terrible tragedies can occur when individuals become corrupted by power. However, just as disturbing is Hollywood’s endless need to exploit this tragedy for the pursuit of profit.

It was Theodor Adorno who once said, “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” Adorno’s point is especially relevant when we consider the constant circulation of Holocaust movies like The Monuments Men. In order to understand the problem, it’s important to realize that George Clooney and his co-stars are cashing in on this movie, as are the major Hollywood studies that produce it. Hollywood is a business after all, and we all know that there’s no better way to attract moviegoers than to release another “important” story about the Holocaust. In this particular case, we follow a group of American soldiers who are sent to rescue artwork from the Nazis, because apparently artwork is more important than people.

There was a time when it was necessary for Hollywood to make Holocaust movies. Film is popular entertainment, and it has the potential to enlighten the masses about this brutal event in history. However, we already have Schindler’s List (1993) and The Pianist (2002), and there are hundreds of excellent, important documentaries worth renting. What we don’t need, and what Hollywood keeps giving us, is American movie stars like Clooney and Matt Damon engaging in witty banter through World War II rubble. We aren’t going to benefit from Kate Winslet hanging herself at the end of the The Reader (2008). And we especially aren’t going to be moved by Brad Pitt’s collection of Nazi scalps in Inglorious Basterds (2009). It appears that Hollywood failed to understand that they were only supposed to make one or two important movies about the Holocaust. Instead, they’ve unleashed a genre.

Hollywood has made movie after movie about the Holocaust to the point where audiences become so distant from the real event that they only think about it in terms of cinematic conventions. Last year, for example, critics and audiences panned The Book Thief (2013) for being too “sappy” and “precious.” And maybe it was, but we’ve gone too far if we’re judging Holocaust movies by the same standards that we judge a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

The Holocaust was a horrific, brutal event, and we must remember and honor its victims. To do this, Hollywood must stop making Holocaust movies.


If the recent release of George Clooney’s film The Monuments Men — based on Robert M. Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History — proves anything, it’s that Hollywood can still create emotional and compelling films about the Holocaust.

Though World War II is a dark time in the world’s history that many would like to forget, we shouldn’t. Of course, many fans of cinema will tell you that we have enough movies focusing on this period of time. Some might even say Hollywood should have stopped after creatingSchindler’s List. However, the Holocaust will never stop being part of the world’s history, and Hollywood should never be told to stop creating films based on the subject.

History shouldn’t just be taught by school teachers or textbooks; history can be taught by survivors, by those choosing to tell the survivors’ story. History can be learned through any medium whether it’s a factual first account or a fictional retelling, like Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Perhaps some moviegoers see mentions of the Holocaust as cheap plays on sentimentality, but it also shouldn’t be a topic Hollywood wholly avoids — especially in non-historical films. Two specific movies come to mind: The Avengers makes a brief allusion to the World War II and Magneto’s revenge story in X-Men: First Class deals with a survivor’s story — a very fictional survivor who can control metal with his mind, but still.

However, both these films are impactful in different ways. The scene inThe Avengers that references the Holocaust is amazing. An old man stands up to Loki, who presumes to be Earth’s one true ruler, and tells him he is nothing special; there will always be men who wish to subjugate humankind and they will always be defeated. Similarly, Magneto’s storyline in X-Men gives the character agency so that he is not simply a one-dimensional victim archetype.

The fact that we can still be moved by the Holocaust — whether it’s in a superhero flick or a serious drama like The Monuments Men — is an important factor to respecting and immortalizing history. Holocaust films should not be disregarded simply because someone is tired of remembering something uncomfortable.




Alfonso Cuarón must have felt pretty certain that nobody would be coming to Gravity for the script. Though his reputation as a writer sings of creativity and deviation from the typical Hollywood fodder, every beat in his surprisingly linear outer space film feels not so much like an exploration of a fascinating story, but more like a means to transport an audience (that’s us) to the next harrowing explosion of IMAX technology. On the surface, this probably sounds cheap — you signed up for a movie, not a roller coaster. But if it is the principal purpose of any movie to offer its audience an emotional experience, then Gravity is an unquestionable triumph.

In fact, it should say a great deal that the moreover “typical” narrative that throughlines this movie doesn’t undercut the experience. Through the film’s dazzling effects and a profoundly immersive directorial style, Gravity gives us something that feels altogether new.Sandra Bullock’s new-to-space scientist Dr. Ryan Stone doesn’t break the mold on action-adventure heroes of either gender, but you’ll be adhered desperately to her every move thanks to the veritable space simulator that Gravity really is.

It’s far more than just the benefits of IMAX technology that keep us feeling like we’re inches from life-threatening danger at all times. It is Cuarón’s flare for the construction of genuine tension. We open on a painfully slow climb up a mountain of dread, with a nauseated Stone struggling to repair a faction of the ship while a pseudo-nihilistic astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney, who can be paid credit for all of this film’s moments of comic relief) jet-packs around her recounting stories of Marti Gras and romantic infidelity. All the while, aimless conversation and pleasant radio melodies notwithstanding, our chests grow heavier with anticipation of what is about to follow this mammoth single take. Disaster.

Gravity© 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

And once it hits, we’re gone. Drowning, treading for dear life for the hour and change to follow, thrown a leaky life preserver on occasion when Stone (our consierge through this unforgiving nightmare) manages some semblance of momentary sanctuary from the insatiable abyss all around her. Our anxiety never dips below “barely sustainable” as Stone efforts to lay waist to probability and fight her way back to safety. At no point in the entire real-time adventure do we feel liberated from Stone’s danger. The magic of this movie makes us feel everything that she does, without allowing for even a second of comfort to be drawn from the fact that we, and Bullock, are in no real harm.

To reiterate, it is nearly miraculous that we can’t, even if and when we really want to, grip at the refuge of the “it’s just a movie” mentality, especially in the face of a plotline you might find occupied by a Ron Howard epic. No, we’re far too deep by the time the danger strikes to conceive of a world beyond the one Cuarón forces upon us. He’s strategic generous in his inclusion of Clooney’s loquacious playboy: without a few trembling smiles, we might succumb to full-on nervous breakdown. But Cuarón peppers the pleasantries in just seldom enough to keep the titular sentiment so painfully alive.

Gravity is the sort of movie that demands as big a screen and as focused a pair of IMAX-framed eyes as possible. It doesn’t offer much dramatic surprise — in fact, we’re prepared for just about every big turn — but the shocks, the screams, the moments that make you cower and whimper and hope to dear God that Stone is going to be okay are plentiful. Beyond plentiful, in fact. They’re the whole way through. So a great story, it might not be, but in its achievement of this degree of emotional immersion, Gravity is an unbelievable piece of work.


9 Truths About Letting Go of Opinions that Taint Us.

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers. ~Khalil Gibran

1. Smoke and Mirrors

The fear of imperfection and/or of not being accepted is, of course, an illusion. Who gets to be the judge and jury on what is deemed beautiful or hideous — successful or stupid? Let me guess:  The tabloids or magazines, possibly Hollywood or the catwalks of Milan? How about TV/movies and the media? Spare a thought about who you give your power over to.  The various outlets that dictate what beauty and normal are seem to be pushing fake, in my opinion.  There are moments where true beauty can shine through these channels, but those flashes are few and far between.  True beauty and acceptance is in the eye of the beholder.  So anyone claiming to know what beauty or normal definitely is needs very close examining if they are not including every member of the human race in their rundown.


2. Self-Realization and Repair Kits

When you can out these undesirable contracts you can begin to repair them.  We have to discover why we felt the lack and how we are feeling now about the same issue. Then we must align it to our higher self by breaking down the agreement piece by piece and offer it up to the light to be cleansed.

3. Inherent Beauty and Perfection

We need to look at ourselves and find the beauty inherent in us, not always trying to fish out our perceived faults. When you treat yourself with loving kindness and nurture your self-esteem with positive thoughts, you will begin to shift into alignment with your higher self.

4. Dissecting Agreements

When we were young we had no inhibitions and sang at the top of our voices, danced our hearts out (whether someone was looking or not) and thought we were princesses and superheroes. Then one day someone came along and made you feel less than what you felt about yourself. You may have paused to take it in – then you made a crucial decision. Either you agreed with what they said or you didn’t. That is why some of us can still dance freely and not be bothered whilst others cringe at the thought of dancing in public – this could be due to an earlier experience of being made to feel like you were ‘no good’ by someone who was only giving you one piece of the puzzle.

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. ~Lao Tzu

5. Piecing Together Your Puzzle 

When I said that the person was only giving one piece of the puzzle I mean that they have a preference based on their version of reality. That is one person’s perspective in a sea of other possible candidates – ones who may have loved your form of expression.  This person could have also been a child, an acquaintance, a stranger or it could have been someone you trusted and loved deeply. The latter is often the case and can make the hurt twice as potent.  However, we must consider that some things are said in the heat of the moment and not really meant by the offender, so we really need to see why we made the agreement.

6. That Tricky Enigma Called Universal Appeal

You need to know that you can never have universal appeal.  You or your talents may not be one person’s cup of tea but what about all the other people in the world who will resonate with your particular brand of uniqueness?  However, ultimately you need to please only you. When you do this then you are immediately accepted and no outside influence can make you feel anything other than what you know yourself to be.

7. Acknowledge the Good

We sometimes tend to disregard the ones who encourage us, leaving only space in our thoughts for the ones who hurt us. Why is this, I wonder?  Everyone has the urge to be liked and accepted for who they are. This is normal. But what we need to redefine is whatis normal? Every soul is special and has equally unique attributes, abilities and ways of expressing themselves creatively. There should be no judgment.

8. Identify the Judge 

When judgment rears its head, we must question the one doing the judging.   Tell that judge that you are in love with your differences.  Viva la difference!  Without freedom of expression this world would be a very dull place.  Without diversity in hair colour, body shapes, talents, voices, tastes, etcetera we would be tantamount to sheep running around in a field day in and day out – baa-baa-boring!

9. Know Thyself! 

Only then will you begin to discover, on the deepest level, that which you truly are and what you have accomplished – not only in this lifetime but in the countless life experiences you have had.  Draw on that wealth of talents you have stored, that which you haven’t even begun to extract from your being.  When you do, there is nothing anyone can say or do to you that would ever hurt you.  You will be resolute as to who you are and nobody can take that away from you — unless you allow them to.

When you are living with the statement ‘be the best you can be’ and you are doing this with all your integrity and might — you have nothing to fear.

Empowerment comes from fearing no-thing and facing every day with courage and love in your heart. Strive to be and do the best you can in every situation, then you will be living in your integrity.  Words or energy that does not fit with your frequency or vibration will not be allowed to penetrate your field of self.  You will have become the master of your life and your reality.


Biologists create ‘zombie’ cells.


‘Zombie’ cells are created in lab… and they outperform their living counterparts

It may sound like something from a science fiction film, but scientists say they have created ‘zombie cells’ – that continue to work after they are dead.

But unlike the walking dead of Hollywood, these cells actually perform some functions better than when they were alive.

Scientists say by coating organic cells in silicic acid they are able to withstand far greater temperatures and pressures than flesh.

The zombie cells were created by biologists at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico.

The process of cell zombification is relatively simple: scientists coat a living cell with silicon to replicate its structure to near perfection.

As it turns out, the silicon-coated cells perform tasks more efficiently after the living cell has died. A horde of billions of hard-working cell zombies would have many applications in commercial and research fields from the tiny to the huge. The process also allows scientists to create copies of cells accurate down to the groves in the DNA.

The living cell essentially serves as a mold for the silicon. The silicon zombie cells can withstand a much wider temperature and pressure range than flesh and it seems that they can perform certain functions better than the living originals.

“Take some free-floating mammalian cells, put them in a Petri dish and add silicic acid,” Michael Hess, Digital Communications Specialist for Office of Public Affairs of the United States Department of Energy, writes of the process. “The silicic acid, for reasons still partially unclear, enters without clogging and in effect embalms every organelle in the cell from the micro- to the nanometer scale.”

For those looking for a science fiction approximation, these silicon cell copies might be less zombie and more of a clone/robot blend.

“By heating the silica to relatively low heat (400 C), the organic material of the cell — its protein — evaporates and leaves the silica in a kind of three-dimensional Madame Tussauds wax replica of a formerly living being,” Hess writes. “The difference is that instead of modeling the face, say, of a famous criminal, the hardened silica-based cells display internal mineralized structures with intricate features ranging from nano- to millimeter-length scales.”

“King Tut was mummified,” said Sandia materials scientist Bryan Kaehr, the lead researcher of the project, “to approximately resemble his living self, but the process took place without mineralization. Our zombie cells bridge chemistry and biology to create forms that not only near-perfectly resemble their past selves, but can do future work.”

Screenwriting inspiration aside, there are important reasons the researchers experimented with copying cells. The hardworking silicon zombies could help out in industries dealing with fuel cells and decontamination.