Films with a glimpse of World War II

On this day, in 1945, the Dachau concentration camp was liberated, paving the way towards Germany's surrender just days later. Here are some films that help you go back in time and witness the war as it happened.


By Hareem Fatima

KARACHI: World War II is perhaps one of the most talked-about historical events across the world. For all the atrocities committed in an effort to build a superior Aryan civilization. The idea, as outrageous as it seems today was the most propagated back in the day. Remnants of the very idea live on as nations and races continue to feel superior over their counterparts due to hypernationalism and confused national identities. Prejudice amongst groups remains and discrimination based on skin color, race, ethnicity exposes itself in nearly every country even today. It is hence no surprise that even as the war ended, neo-nazism sprung up shortly afterward. On 29th April however, perhaps one of the most major steps was taken. The longest-standing concentration camp – Dachau was liberated. To fully understand what this event meant, here are some incredible movies that can help you understand World War 2 a bit better.

Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is a story of well, Jojo Rabbit, a young boy who is training under the Nazi regime in Germany. He absolutely hates Jews and his imaginary friend is none other than Adolf Hitler himself. The heartwarming period drama is pure comedy with some moments that are definitely going to make you cry. Hard to imagine movies on World War 2 that could be funny. It is amazing how Taika Waititi came up with this film. The film explores the war from the eyes of a child who loves his mother and wants nothing more than be who he thinks he is destined i.e., to be a Nazi.

Dunkirk

The film is based on operation Dunkirk Evacuation. The emotionally charged story narrates the historical evacuation of allied soldiers from the harbours and beaches of Dunkirk, situated in northen France. The operation took place when several troops were cut off from the allies and surrounded by German forces in 1940 during The Battle of France.

The most amazing part about the film is its lack of dialogues. The film is mostly emotion-driven and employs an ensemble cast comprising Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy and Fionne Whitehead.

Inglorious Basterds

The film offers an alternate reality, where instead of attempting suicide, Hitler is lured to a cinema (showing German propaganda) to be killed. The Inglorious Basterds are a bunch of allied soldiers disguised as civilians in a Germany-occupied France. They’ll do one thing only – Killing Nazis. But how easy will that be since neither knows a word of German or Italian unfolds in a rather hilarious way.

Blood splatter is a signature for most films by Quentin Tarantino, but for this one, things can get disturbingly, dangerously rib-tickling.

Schindler’s List

Steven Spielberg’s gem – Schindler’s List is a film that pays homage to Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi Party in Germany who decides to hire as many Jews in his factory as possible to save their lives. After witnessing the Jewish execution in Poland, Schindler became concerned for his workforce after he has a change of heart.

The Pianist

Adrian Brody stars as Władysław Szpilman, an actual pianist who lost his entire family to a concentration camp. The film narrates his survival in the face of brutality and persecution. With unpredictability lingering around and swords hanging above his head, Szpilman struggles to stay put until Germany surrenders.

Saving Private Ryan

If you ever need to cry your lungs out, Saving Private Ryan is the film for you. A family that has already lost three sons awaits the return of the only one remaining – James Francis Ryan played by Matt Damon. Captain H. Miller, played by Tom Hanks is assigned the task of finding Pvt. Ryan and the film follows his search. Through the brutality of war and loss of loved ones, Miller and Ryan form their own beautiful friendship. A friendship that became worthy of a sacrifice and a salute.

Captain America: The First Avenger

While the film is fantasy and Sci-Fi, it does open a window for its audiences to the desperation of the moment. The scientific experimentations often went a little further than their ethical boundaries and the effort to seize the war as well as world dominance. Captain America – a supersoldier was born during such a time.

The film also shows how propaganda films were on the rise and the way media had a big part in the war.

More on 29th April during World War 2…

29th April isn’t just about liberation, it also marks German surrender in Italy when the representatives of the German command in Italy signed their surrender. It is a day when humanity triumphed over barbarism after 30,000 Jews, as well as political prisoners, were freed from Dachau. It is also the day when Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun in his bunker. Forty hours later, the couple died by suicide after biting into a capsule of cyanide. While World War 2 was definitely more gruesome than the way movies portray it, we hope that should such a horrendous event occur again, it is retaliated by the many who would choose humanity over hate and differences.

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