It was four decades after the end of World War II that Salomon Perel, who had been born in Germany in 1925 to a Polish Jewish family, sat down to write the remarkable story of how he survived the war years by posing as pure Aryan, first as a translator for the Wehrmacht in Russia, then as a Hitler Youth at a military school in Berlin. Perel’s autobiography soon caught the attention of acclaimed Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, who saw it as an opportunity to make a very different kind of Holocaust film. In the above clip, taken from a supplement on our new edition of Holland’s Europa Europa, the director talks about adapting Perel’s singular story of survival and identity, and her determination to achieve a certain kind of ironic playfulness in its telling. This is clearly not a tone usually associated with tales of the Holocaust, but Holland explains here that, inspired by eighteenth-century authors like Voltaire and Denis Diderot, she hoped to use this style to portray the protagonist as “a toy in the hands of history,” as she says here.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.