Skip to main content

WHO SHALL LIVE AND WHO SHALL DIE?

USA, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Laurence Jarvik

Made over a period of three years for a mere $100,000, Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? looks raw and unsophisticated, but the very poverty of its means allows a devastating political story to recount itself. It is a tale of American shoulder-shrugging and eye-lowering while millions were dying in extermination camps. Combining interviews with Jewish leaders, American officials and survivors, as well as newsreels and previously classified information, Jarvik probes the degree to which the Jews of Europe could have been saved if concerted action had been taken by the Allies.

The first layer of the film locates the problem in official government reaction, beginning with the refusal of the U.S. to admit refugees during the 1930s. Jarvik chronicles how the American government knew about the extermination as it was happening, and how it chose political calculation over humanitarian consideration. Finally, in 1944, a special governmental agency was established to rescue the Jews. And what did the American Jewish leadership contribute? Five hundred rabbis organized and marched on the White House — while the majority of American rabbis boycotted them. "Don't rock the boat", seemed to be the reigning attitude.

See also...

MODERN ROMANCE

“You've heard of a no-win situation? Vietnam. This. They're around. I think we're in one of them.” ... Comedian and filmmaker Albert Brooks - a comedic precursor to Larry David - directs ... More »

PHILIP GUSTON: A LIFE LIVED

The portrait of the painter, Philip Guston, filmed during the last 10 years of his life. Guston's words and images speak frankly about his evolution as an artist who abandoned the hard-won success ... More »

Iron Horse

Iron Horse is a film about public sculpture and its human impact The story concerns a steel sculpture that caused a not in 1954, when it was placed on a university campus It is a film about ... More »

Variety

The film reverses the roles of and conventions of traditional cinema by confronting representations of sexuality and male/female desire directly, while not abandoning the pleasure(s) of narrative ... More »

The Diary

Subtle clay animation brings to life Mark Twain's classic, "The Diary of Adam and Eve". ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director