There's all sorts of many movies that are deemed as "must see" movies. Often depressing one's sneak into the "must see" category because there stories are "important."
I have some favorite movies of this "must see because they're important, even though they are depressing variety," for example Sophie's Choice or Schindler's list. Or non-WWII related films of this variety like Hotel Rwanda.
It seems like if you are trying to make one of these "must see because it's important" movies, that Holocaust and concentration camps make the perfect subject. It's depressing, true stories, and have immense importance (the future repeats the past unless we learn our history).
If you follow my reel people series, you have recently read about Haley Joel Osment's role in the movie Truth & Treason, a film due out later this year. Depressing! Depressing! Depressing!
The Holocaust certainly doesn't lack depressing stories. Many of these also feature great heroes of all nationalities, but even in the face of heroism there is loss and death in these tales.
The film The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher) is a Austrian film that took home the Oscar for best foreign language film at the 2008 Academy Awards ceremony.
If you have seen this film, it is very interesting in that while it portrays the horrible reality of concentration camp life and some of the individual and national pains associated with the Holocaust, the film's principal character Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) is a fictional counterfeiter who leads the real Operation Bernard, an attempt to counterfeit the British pound and American dollar.
This character is a challenging one, because amidst all the brutality, fear, sorrow, and death, Sally is more interested in preserving his own life, although at the same time not compromising the other men on the project who are less-then-helpful.
Sally is not your typical hero or sympathetic lead. I watched the film and while finding some parts interesting, I had a hard time classifying this film in the "depressing but must see" category.
When I think about other Holocaust related projects that are in the works I wonder about what value future projects have. Do we need to keep on telling the stories? What stories haven't been told that need to be told again, or told better? Do efforts at being original, or tell stories differently compromise the events or make them commonplace?
I'm not sure, but I wonder.