5 Italian Holocaust Movies

Sunday, March 27 by Layla Sinclair

These 5 Italian Holocaust movies provide stories about the concentration camps of World War II. The films often feature Italian Jews, who were also victims of Nazi atrocities. Although tragic, many of the movies deliver a hopeful message about the power of the human will.

  1. “Life Is Beautiful” This Italian Holocaust movie won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999. Roberto Benigni also won the Oscar for Best Actor thanks to his powerful performance. The movie revolves around the story of a man and his son, who ar taken from their home in Italy to a concentration camp. The father (played by Benigni) convinces his son that their stay is actually just a game in this movie that contains both humorous and heart-wrenching scenes.
  2. “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” Another award winner, this film won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1972. Thi Italian Holocaust movie is about one wealthy Jewish family’s lavish life on the eve of World War II. The film chronicles the slow disintegration of their old lifestyle as the Germans soon invade the country. The movie was directed by Vittorio De Sica and stars Lino Capolicchio and Dominque Sanda.
  3. “Seven Beauties” This dark Italian Holocaust movie is about a man named Pasqualino, who is played by Giancarlo Giannini. Pasqualino ends up sent to a concentration camp for killing a man who had served as the pimp to one of his sisters. The film relates the brutalities of the camps, as the protagonist endures being a prisoner and later a kapo. He then finds himself forced to kill other camp members under commands.
  4. ”The Truce” Made in 1997, this Italian Holocaust movie is based on the autobiography of Primo Levi, an Italian who was sent to Auschwitz. The film chronicles the journey of camp survivors back to Italy and their attempt to fit into regular life again. The movie was filmed in multiple languages, including English. John Turturro stars as Levi's character in the film. 
  5. “Facing Windows” This contemporary Italian Holocaust movie explores victims’ memories of the past. A married Italian woman named Giovanna finds her life changed after saving an older man. He can’t remember his current identity, but is plagued by memories of the war and the Holocaust. Giovanna slowly attempts to put the pieces of his life together with him. Ferzan Ozpetek directs this post-Holocaust film. 
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