Tuesday, April 25, 2023

THE CURE FOR HATE: Bearing Witness to Auschwitz Pittsburgh’s 30th annual Jewish Film Festival on April 25

There have been dozens of films where a member of a hate group relates their change of heart and realizes the error of their ways but few have ever been as powerful as The Cure for Hate: Bearing Witness to Auschwitz. This film is one of the best films I’ve seen in 2023.

Based on the book by Tony McAleer this film follows  McAleer as he takes a trip to Auschwitz and takes a tour of the concentration camp. As he tours the camp he talks about his life. That may sound like it’s been there and done that but the truth of the matter is that some how the actual visit transcends the form to be something that ends up being an emotional gut punch.

There are two reasons the film works. The first is McAleer himself.  A compelling speaker and presence he is a young man who is very aware of who he is and why he felt as he did. He is at a point in his life where he has taken stock of his life and come to terms with everything to such a great degree that he can explain it to us in such a way  that we understand why it all happened. And we do understand it, probably more clearly than at any time previously.

The second reason the film works is that the film takes time to really be in Auschwitz. The film doesn’t stroll the grounds but instead puts us into the various locations  so that we get a real sense of place. I can not tell you how many documentaries I’ve seen where we either get a single shot of say the crematoria or the grounds and then boom on to the next thing, or the camera keeps moving so that we are simply moving in a place. Here the discussions take time. Not only do they take time but they also show us shots so that we get a sense of the space. The sequence by the first ovens really gives us a feeling of what the place is like, it’s not just the ovens but a complete room. As a result we are in this place and we can feel the roof above us and the walls around us. We feel the history and understand what happened there.

I can't stress this enough this film is something special and is not something you have ever experienced before. This film will move you.

I can’t recommend the film enough. 

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