Five must-see films portraying war crime

Closing our eyes does not erase crime. Listening and experiencing the stories of the many victims and their ancestors is therefore necessary. Here is a list of films, whose portrayal of war crimes Walk This Way considers essential viewing.

The Gate by Régis Wargnier (2014, France, Belgium, Cambodia)

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Available from 17 October as part of the This is War collection

Directed by Academy award winner Régis Wargnier (Indochine), the film is based on a true story that explores the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. A profound exploration of this dark period in Cambodian history seen through the eyes of a French ethnologist (played by Raphaël Personnaz), who meets again with a former Khmer Rouge official after the latter is arrested for crimes against humanity.

Son of Saul by László Nemes (2015, Hungary)

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The film follows two days in the life of a Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums. When he sees a corpse of a boy that he takes for his son, he is determined to do the impossible: salvage the body and find a rabbi to bury it. An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Son of Saul is a one of a kind film in many aspects: from the plot that takes a completely new perspective on the supposedly exhausted topic of the Holocaust to the captivating cinematography, which relies almost entirely on close ups.

My German Friend by Jeanine Meerapfel (2012, Germany, Argentina)

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Available from 17 October as part of the This is War collection

The film follows Sulamit, the daughter of German-Jewish refugees in Argentina, who is a close friend with Friedrich, the son of German-Nazis refugees. They witness turbulent times in Argentina and when back in Germany they get involved in the political struggles of 1968. Friedrich, who has always rejected the Nazi past of his father, decides to go back to Argentina to fight against the military government. The film is a reflection on the international political scene of the 60s, combined with a beautiful love story between two people that are not afraid to stand up for their values.

Hotel Rwanda by Terry George (2004, United Kingdom, South Africa, Italy)

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Based on a true story, Hotel Rwanda was nominated for three Oscars, and with numerous others nominations and awards has become one of the most critically acclaimed films portraying injustice and human suffering. The film follows the story of Paul Rusesabagina who is manager of the most luxurious hotel in the capital of Rwanda, where over a thousand Tutsi take refuge during their struggle against the Hutu militia.

As If I Am Not There by Juanita Wilson (2010, Ireland)

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The film is based on Slavenka Drakulić’s novel from 1999, which deals with war rape in the Bosnian War in the early 90s. The story is centred around Samira (Natasa Petrovic), a schoolteacher who becomes a victim to repeated sexual violence during the ethnic cleansing raging through the country. A moving drama, with some very difficult scenes to watch, it is an important testimony of women’s suffering and fight for justice. The film was awarded at many festivals, including Palm Springs, Istanbul, Phoenix and Seattle, and received the major prizes (Best Director, Best Film) at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

14 October 2016, by Cineuropa

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