Protocols of Zion (2005)
Critic Consensus: Levin takes viewers on a personal journey, laying bare the ugly and varied faces of anti-Semitism.
Near the dawn of the 20th century, underlings of Czar Nicholas II created a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported to be the outline of a master plan created by powerful Jews determined to rule the world. First published in 1903, the essay was a hoax (and was revealed as such for the first time in 1921 by the London Times), but that hasn't prevented it from having a long and troubling life as a widely distributed cornerstone of anti-Semitic hate literature; it's still in print around the world, and was adapted for Egyptian television in the new millennium. When filmmaker Marc Levin was confronted with another widely disseminated bit of anti-Jewish propaganda (the false assertion that no Jews died in the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001), he developed a new curiosity about the Protocols and other "factual" sources of anti-Semitic hatred, and set out to find out more about anti-Jewish propaganda. The result was Protocols of Zion, a documentary which offers a surprising (and surprisingly witty) look at figures from the hate movement in America in elsewhere, ranging from leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance (who also sells Aryan Wear footwear) to an anti-Semitic media analyst who announces that Rupert Murdoch is actually a Jew. The film also examines Henry Ford's well-documented hatred of Jews, anti-Semitism among radical African-Americans, and the memories of Levin's father, a self-described "All-American Jew." … More
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Critic Reviews for Protocols of Zion
The only civilized response to this display of abject ignorance, hatred and bigotry is one of anguished despair, but Levin's film enlightens as much as it enrages.
It's probably useful for the world to know the extreme lengths to which bigotry is willing to travel; Protocols may not be the best-made documentary, but it definitely fills in those blanks.
Protocols ultimately lacks the focus and the scope to have much effect beyond causing us to shake our heads in dismay at the usual suspects: ignorance and those who would exploit it.
Levin's film is most effective as it objectively documents the history of international anti-Semitism, but loses ground whenever it reverts back to anecdotal coverage of the subject.
Rambling and disjointed, Protocols of Zion starts out pretty interesting and then begins skidding all over the place, losing focus just as it should be building momentum.
Audience Reviews for Protocols of Zion
Movie about the different opinions, emotions, and perspectives of Jews, Christians, Arabs, and the National Alliance after the events of 9/11. - Basically, the movie says that "Hate Breeds Hate."
Marc Levin: "What about this rumor that Hitler himself had Jewish blood?..."
Shaun Walker (National Alliance): "... ... See I think that that's a Jewish mindset that can even grasp that concept because, to me, if you're part Jewish than why do you want to kill off the Jewish people?"
M.L.: "Because you want to kill it in yourself."
S.H.:"Well, ugh, Hitler, I don't see himself as suicidal in the slightest, I thought he-"
M.L.: "He commited suicide."
Interesting but disappointing. Marc Levin takes the fascinating subject of anti-Semitism and conducts some explorations into potentially loaded territory (interviews with neo-Nazis, street thugs, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, and such) in order to ask and answer the big questions about it. Unfortunately, he doesn't dig deep enough. He conducts some nice interviews and gets some interesting opinions and notable quotations (e.g. the white supremacist who says he doesn't consider Hitler to have been suicidal), but he doesn't really go anywhere beyond scratching the surface. He goes for breadth rather than choosing to explore the depths, which makes this merely a thought-provoking starting point for discussion rather than an innovative film.
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