Nov 9, 2008

God on Trial Airs Tonight

"You will weep, but you will also think. And although the weeping will stop fairly soon after the credits role, with any luck, the thinking will not."

The reviews are in and God on Trial is a critical hit. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the film challenging to watch:

"Frank Cottrell Boyce has crafted a brilliant script, which doesn't only look at why God would inflict such horrible things on the Jews while allowing Hitler and his henchmen to live. Although specifically about Jewish prisoners during World War II, the film has universal appeal in the fundamental questions of existence that every human being has to ask, even minimally, at one point or other in his or her life."

Comments from The Los Angeles Times:

"That [the actors] are wonderful, riveting and at times difficult to watch is no surprise, and if their utter Britishness -- no attempts at other European accents here -- is a bit jarring at first, it is soon forgotten. For although the various arguments made during "God on Trial" never deviate from the specific concerns of the Chosen People, larger questions crowd the drama's edges like the silent, rapt men who follow the trial from their bunks.

The nature and existence of God, the nature and necessity of faith, the role humans occupy in the universe and, most important, how to reconcile the idea of a loving deity with the ongoing tragedy of war and genocide.

They are big topics addressed with a striking lack of sentimentality, quite a feat considering the setting. You will weep, but you will also think. And although the weeping will stop fairly soon after the credits role, with any luck, the thinking will not."

The Edge from The Boston Herald declares that this brilliant movie feels like a play.

"“The reason why you do something about the Holocaust is to find out if you can do something about evil,” [Executive Producer] Redhead said. “The civilizing acts of conducting a trial in the face of evil can give shape and meaning to life.”

Life loses its meaning when children are snatched from parents’ arms and sons are forced to dig their mothers’ graves. As the prisoners relay their stories, viewers learn of a world that is no more, a world gone mad."

On First Things, Anthony Sacramone describes the film as compelling:

"And if you think this tale is intended for Jews alone, don’t tell that to Frank Cottrell Boyce, from whose pen the intelligent and provocative script flowed. Boyce, whose previous scripts include Welcome to Sarajevo and Hillary and Jackie, is not even Jewish but a believing Catholic. He drew inspiration for his drama from an event depicted by Elie Wiesel in his play The Trial of God. Wiesel contends he had witnessed such a trial as a child in the death camps."

Telegraph UK: Interview with Anthony Sher, who played Akiba, a Polish Rabbi.

The film airs tonight on PBS Masterpiece Contemporary at 9 pm EST. If you missed seeing it the first time, or would like to view it again, you can view the video from November 10 until November 16 on PBS. Click here.

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