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...

The Phans of Jersey City

The Phans of Jersey City is a ... documentary that estranges the U.S. by presenting it through the immigrant eyes of an upper-class South Vietnamese clan, who use menial jobs and family solidarity to ... More »

RESURGENCE

Resurgence is the story of the recent rise in Ku Klux Klan terror and the growth of the movement for social and economic justice. Dramatic events and characters emerge to tell two sides of a ... More »

The Diary

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

Stoney Knows How

Stoney Knows How is a sensitive portrayal of the life of Leonard “Stoney" St. Clair, West Virginia-born master tattoo artist. Stoney is a unique representative of at least two subcultures ... More »

CUTTER'S WAY

When Alex Cutter, a crippled and scarred veteran of all the 1960s wars (Vietnam, politics, drugs), finds out that his only friend, Richard Bone, a tired beach-boy worn out with dreams, may know who ... More »

L.A. Suggested by the Art of Edward Ruscha

A compendium of Los Angeles icons, from class to kitsch. Edward Ruscha's paintings, drawings and photographs are the point of departure for this impressionistic study of Los Angeles' buildings ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director