Sunday, August 02, 2009


During World War II, when it was evident that all Jews in their area were being slaughtered by the Nazis in Poland, the Bielski brothers hid in the woods of Belorussia, foraging for food and weapons to aid in their survival. Along the way, however, more and more Polish Jews showed up in the forest, seeking their help. This movie is about brothers Tuvia and Zus, how they disagreed about the growing population of Jews hiding with them in the forest, and, at its most basic, will it be revenge or survival?

This is a Hollywood treatment of a true story. In the end, there were 1200 Jews hiding, if you can believe it, in the forest, and the film is a chronology of how they pulled this off even though they faced extinction every day. It may be a Hollywood "take," but it's a movie with a lot of integrity, a fascinating story of collaboration with the Russians against the Nazis, of brother against brother, of Jew against Jew. It's easy enough for us to say, with elaborate hindsight, that the Nazis should be their true enemy and unite them, but when human beings are put into scary situations, with not enough to eat, facing danger at every minute, they do change.

For a riveting review of the history behind this as well as a film review, see Ruth's take.

Thumb's up.


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