"Defiance" Now and Then
BAM! BAM! BAM! You just witnessed family and neighbors shot dead. With your own eyes you’ve seen hundreds of people lying naked and dead in a giant ditch. People like yourself are being hunted. You then find yourself in a forest with many others in your same predicament. This is the premise of a dramatic feature film and based on a true story called “Defiance.” “Defiance” is being released mid-January and is directed by Edward Zwick (“Blood Diamond,” “The Last Samarai”).
“Defiance” is about a group of Jews forced to live for years in the forest to escape the Nazis. Just when you thought you’ve heard and seen everything about the Holocaust here’s another amazing aspect. It’s incredible to watch this film and think about how this group of people actually endured these events. Lead by Tuvia, one of three brothers, played by Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale,” “Munich”) who manages to keep order of the group and his own sanity and composure. There are men, women and children to feed, shelter and protect from the relentless Nazis. As the group grows they gain weapons and supplies. The group becomes a community. Women along with the men are taught to shoot guns and go on food runs back into the Nazi infested ghetto. Tuvia pleads to a group of Jews in the ghetto to join his group in the forest because he believes it’s their best chance to survive. Rumors have spread about Jews taken from the ghetto and lead to their deaths. Tuvia’s competitive brother, Zus, (Liev Schreiber) ends up leaving the group to join a Russian Army that is attacking Hitler from the forest as well. With its leaders at odds with each other, the odds of this group surviving are astronomical. Battling a long cold winter in the forest, sickness, starvation and the Nazis periodically seeking them out are just some of the many dangers of the forest.
There are many images that stay with you upon leaving the theater. Surprisingly, not all of them are the obvious images of the Nazi nightmare. Sometimes beautiful things are that more beautiful because of how much horror they’re surrounded by. Tuvia urges the group, “Our revenge is to live.” An additional note: I knew about this film months ago and have wanted to see it very badly. Now, with the current situation in Israel, timing is perfect for “Defiance” to be released. The Jewish people are being tested again as they always have been.
The film serves as a great reminder of that threat that always exists towards Jews. People such as the president of Iran preach that the Holocaust never happened and expresses to world how Israel should be wiped off the map. As Israel is bombarded by rockets sent from Gaza by HAMAS on a daily basis and trying to implement a peace plan with the Palestinians, their right to defend their land and people in order to acquire long lasting peace will ironically be seen around the world that the Jews are the Nazis. The entire world needs to be strapped in like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange” and EDUCATED on who the Jews are, where they originated and what they’re about. Lechaim! To life!