Average Rating: 5.8/10
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In this documentary exploring the popularity of pornographic pocketbooks featuring tales of insatiable female SS soldiers sexually abusing prison camp detainees, filmmaker Ari Libsker highlights how the highly publicized Eichmann trial effected the once-skyrocketing sales of these lurid novelettes. In the aftermath of the trial, the authors responsible for these works were accused of penning anti-Semitic pornography. Now, for the first time on film, viewers are invited to meet the very writers
Apr 16, 2007 Wide
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The Israeli documentary Stalags, by Ari Libsker, should be subtitled, How To Turn a Sexy Subject Into a Boring Film.
Stalags carries this line of inquiry forward, cramming an overwhelming amount of information and ideas into its 63 minutes -- not nearly enough time to explore satisfactorily all that it raises.
Unfortunately, Ari Libsker's hour-plus docu on this potentially mind-boggling topic meanders disconnectedly, as various experts, collectors and storytellers kick around anecdotes and theories that tend to cancel each other out.
However artless its presentation, Stalags imparts material that's difficult to shake off and impossible to dismiss.
Empowerment fantasies of a decimated and injured race, a kind of post-traumatic Jewish mother syndrome, or a bit of both? The film mulls these strange notions of the politics of pornography, that would have likely sent Freud's mind into a tailspin.
A chilling expose' which shows how Holocaust internees have been victimized twice, violated again by purveyors of smut who would stoop so low as to fabricate a pack of sadomasochistic lies for a quick buck.
At once too short to truly delve into the themes it brings up, as well as too long.
[Director] Libsker rightfully questions how sex and sadism have become the distorting lens through which we think about the Holocaust.
Libsker's documentary not only explores the roots of the Stalags and the means by which they were produced and sold, but even does a little detective work into the identities of the authors themselves.
'Stalags' refuses to confront firmly the fine line at which individual or collective memory cannot distinguish myth from reality.
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