Never Forget. You’re Reminded.





THIS holiday season the multiplexes, the art houses and the glossy for-your-consideration ads in publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter will be overrun with Nazis.

A minor incursion of this sort is an annual Oscar-season tradition, but 2008 offers an abundance of peaked caps and riding breeches, lightning-bolt collar pins and swastika armbands, as an unusually large cadre of prominent actors assumes the burden of embodying the most profound and consequential evil of the recent past.

David Thewlis, playing a death camp commandant in “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” will be joined by Willem Dafoe, who takes on a similar role in “Adam Resurrected,” Paul Schrader’s new film. In “The Reader,” directed by Stephen Daldry and based on Bernhard Schlink’s best-selling novel of the same name, Kate Winslet plays a former concentration camp guard tried for war crimes. Tom Cruise, the star of Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie,” wears the uniform of the Third Reich though his character, Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, was not a true-believing Nazi but rather a patriotic German military officer involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

And of course there will be plenty of room on screen for the victims and survivors of Hitler’s regime. Adam, the title character in “Adam Resurrected,” is a Berlin nightclub performer, played by Jeff Goldblum, who finds himself, after enduring the camps, confined to an Israeli asylum somewhere between “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “King of Hearts.” And in Edward Zwick’s “Defiance,” Daniel Craig transmutes his James Bond action-heroism into the moral heroism of Tuvia Bielski, the real-life leader of a group of Jewish partisans who fought the Germans in the forests of Belarus. Meanwhile the wave of European cinema dealing with Nazism and the Holocaust — most prominently represented on American screens in recent years by “The Counterfeiters,” which won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film back in February, and earlier aspirants like “Downfall” and “Black Book” — continued this fall with the American releases of “A Secret” and “One Day You’ll Understand,” two quiet, powerful French-language films exploring themes of memory and its suppression....


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