The second world war has certainly been one of the most important events of the 20th century, an event that has remained in the collective memories of many peoples and countries, and that has inspired many directors all over the world in the making of their movies. This might be due to a need of remembering and making people not forget what happened only a few decades ago, as well as to the desire of understanding and explaining the various features of this major event.
The Second World War took place all over the world and lasted 6 years, causing destructions, deaths and other serious consequences on many countries, and changing the world. No wonder then that many directors coming from many different countries have decided to work on this event, and nowadays there are plenty of movies regarding the war, the tragedy of the Shoah and themes connected to this.
It might be interesting to point out that many movies have been shot even before the war ended, while the latest ones came out in these last few years. Some examples? In the 1940th the people who went to the cinema could watch movies like Casablanca by Michael Curtiz (1942) and The Long Voyage Home by John Ford (1940), both set during the second world war. In the last few years, and almost 70 years after the release of those movies, other movies concerning this dark page of our history have been coming out. The latest ones are Luomo che verr (2009), an Italian movie focused on the Marzabotto Massacre, the worst massacre of civilians in Italy committed by the Waffen SS during the war, and Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino (2009), a fictional story about two plots to assassinate the Nazi German political leadership.
One of the major and worst features of World War II is certainly the tragedy of Shoah, which caused the death of over 6 million Jewish, as well as of many other categories of people, like homosexuals, political opponents, gypsies, mentally ill people and so on. Many of the movies set during the second world war are focused on this tragedy, and works like these are very important and useful, as they help keeping memory alive about what happened in the Nazi concentration camps, just like many books, museums and monuments keep doing. To this movie category belong many works that are well-known all over the world, that have been watched by millions of people and that have been awarded many prizes. From Exodus by Otto Preminger (1960) to Defiance by Edward Zwick (2008), the movie history includes many works telling us about these tragic events. Some of the most famous ones are Schindlers List by Steven Spielberg (1993), which tells the story of a German businessman who saved more than a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees and which was awarded 7 Academy Awards – , Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni (1997), which alternates comedy and tragedy the movie won three Academy Awards -, and The Pianist by Roman Polansky (2002), an adaptation of the autobiography of Jewish-Polish musician Wadysaw Szpilman; also this movie was awarded three Academy Awards.
This article was written by Francesca Tessarollo with help from muzeum ii wojny. For more information, please visit muzeum ii wojny wiatowej or zdjcia z 2 wojny wiatowej.