Veit Harlan was a novelist’s son who became Nazi Germany’s favorite filmmaker: a fascinating, troubling figure who stood trial (but didn’t quite pay for) his “crimes against humanity.” Harlan’s 1940 film, Jew Süss, marked a serious low point of 20th-century cinema.
Felix Moeller’s surprising documentary, Harlan: In The Shadow of ‘Jew Süss’, describes the film’s impact on the lives of Harlan’s surviving relatives. (Stanley Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, among them.) All of them are interesting, and the documentary itself is complicated, deeply problematic, and much more thought-provoking than the canned history lesson it could have become.
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