Uwe Boll, the German filmmaker best known for his film versions of video games, is helming two movies about World War II. Both films were shot back-to-back. One is based on a video game and features zombie Nazis. The other?
The other is based on history and features things far worse.
The first flick, BloodRayne: The Third Reich, sounds like typical Boll fare — a low budget cinematic adaptation of a video game. Boll has said from the beginning that he is planning to do the BloodRayne movies, based on the video games, as a trilogy and that the third one will end in the Second World War.
Previously, Boll has helmed movie versions of Alone in the Dark, Far Cry and Postal.
His second film is titled Auschwitz and is set against the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The recently released trailer shows Uwe Boll dressed as a Nazi as he leans against a gas chamber. Inside, men and women, young and old, perish.
The trailer is explicit and disturbing. It shows horrors like teeth being pulled from a dead body and a little boy being incinerated. In short, it festers in the nightmare that was the Holocaust. [Note: the trailer is not work safe.]
"I made the movie because there is not one movie made what shows the Holocaust really was — a killing factory," Boll says. "All the movies made showed us the special people...the heroes. But nobody has focused on the subject matter." Boll says he plans to include a documentary in the film as well.
The subject matter is most unpleasant. There have been numerous documentaries dealing with the Holocaust, but it seems Boll is referring to movies like Schindler's List. When Schindler's List was released in the early 1990s, there were critics, including Holocaust survivors, who derided Spielberg's portrayal of Oskar Schinder and its SS officer Amon Goth. According to Stanley Kubrick, the Holocaust is about 6 million Jews who died, and Schindler's List is about a couple of thousand who survived. Jean Luc-Godard said the movie was "Max Factor".
Criticism aside, Schindler's List was a critical and commercial success. Make no doubt, this is a landmark film. But we're not simply talking about film here, it's the Holocaust. And Uwe Boll — who doesn't quite have the technical wizardry, the sure hand or the heart of a Steven Spielberg — is making a movie about the Holocaust. There have been better directors who have approached the subject material, and, yes, there have even been far worse.
In an age in which some people continue to deny the Holocaust, he says, "I do not think that it is so bad to show that Auschwitz happened." Considering that the Jewish New Year has begun, the timing for reaching such an arresting trailer could have been better.
Uwe Boll is, if anything, a brilliant provocateur. He's made a name for himself. He gets his films made. Boll knows which buttons to push, and he pushes them well. In recent years, his films, however, have gotten increasingly political. He's taken on topics like 9-11 in Postal. That was dark comedy, though. Recent films like Darfur have shown that he has moved beyond parody. But have his films?