In this weekend’s ‘Arts & Leisure’ section of The New York Times, film critic A.O. Scott offers a treatise on Hollywood’s continued interest in Holocaust films headlined Never Forget. You’re Reminded.
Buried in Mr. Scott’s take on what some people wryly call “Shoah Business” is an intriguing aside:
Why do opportunistic, clever young novelists — I won’t name any names — gravitate toward magic-realist depictions of the decidedly unmagical reality of the Shoah? For the same reason that actors shave their heads and starve themselves, or preen and leer in jackboots and epaulets. For the same reason that filmmakers commission concrete barracks and instruct their cinematographers and lab technicians to filter out bright, saturated colors. To win prizes of course.
Whom can Mr. Scott be referring to? We have no clue. But in a September 16, 2005 review of a movie adaptation of an award-winning magic-realist novel by a young writer whose name, while it escapes us, seems synonymous with ‘clever’, Mr. Scott wrote:
The title of Liev Schreiber’s ‘Everything Is Illuminated,’ adapted from the best-selling novel of the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer, refers to the way the past casts a glow of understanding onto the present. A less charitable interpretation is also possible. The film, more emphatically than the book but in keeping with its spirit, suggests that even the darkest page of history can be bathed in a glow of consoling, self-congratulatory sentiment.