The Legacy of World War II in European Arthouse Cinema

Being there . . . . if you believe, as this reviewer, that God’s gift of cinematic genius,
imagination, and creativity, bravely working in unison, is more important than all the arts
combined to touch the innocent observer’s deepest depth. Carl Sandburg may or may not have
claimed that a well-done movie, or, nowadays, a streaming series has the potential to combine
the whole of art in one art, but he did insist, “Anything that brings you to tears by way of drama
does something to the deepest roots of your personality. Moving film features of quality can
provide insights to personable problems hitherto unavailable by other means, especially
common words. Motion picture stories can teach you about yourself.”
MATCHLESS, MANY-FACETED McFARLAND & COMPANY, INC., VIA ITS CONTINUING
PUBLICATION OF STUNNING MOVIE BOOKS, TELLS US IN A LANGUAGE ALL THE WORLD CAN
UNDERSTAND THAT SPIRITED AND ORIGINAL FILM-MAKERS ARE NOT ONLY HERE TO STAY,
CREATE, AND PRODUCE, BUT ALSO TO REVEAL THE CRUELEST MIEN AND MANNER OF IT IN THE
HUMAN CONDITION. THANK YOU, EDITORS AND PUBLISHER, FOR THIS IMPORTANT,
EXCEEDINGLY SO, BOOK THAT INTRODUCES US TO THE BEST FILM-MAKERS OF THE WORLD
WAR II SOUNDSTAGE.
Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“THE LEGACY of WORLD WAR II in EUROPEAN ARTHOUSE CINEMA”, by Samm Deighan.
McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers: 2021, recently republished, 229 pages, 7” x 10”,
softbound, $45. Visit, Web: www.mcfarlandpub.com, Email: customerser@mcfarlandpub.com.
“In the morning light it was all as raw and frank as the voice of history which tells you not to
fool yourself; this can happen in any city, to anyone, to you.” — Christopher Isherwood, “Down
there on a Visit”, 1962.
“The cinema is the most powerful weapon.”—Benito Mussolini, 1922.
Samm Deighan, a writer and film critic who lives in Philadelphia, provides us via his skill,
power, and thoroughly masterful read focusing on European war films made between 1945 and
1985 in counters the Nazis invaded, easily conquered, and occupied. Many of the features
Samm selected to dissect were banned, censored, or sharply compromised for their radical
“reframing” of the war and their “rejection of it as a heroic battle between the forces of good
and evil”. He writes, “The films I present and examine are from arthouse directors like Pier
Paolo Pasolini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Larisa Shepitko and many others, present viewpoints
and experiences that are often controversial or transgressive. They explore the ways that war
and genocide shape national identity and the ways that we think about bodies and sexuality,
trauma, violence, power, justice, and personal responsibility.”
Only someone who believes in cinema, that it is the greatest of all the arts, can come up with
the BIBILOGRAPHY consisting of 4 ¼ pages, more than 150 titles! Samm’s CHAPTER NOTES span
7 1/3 pages! His Conclusion, “The Trauma of Remembrance”, is to cry for, while his

Acknowledgments page is a marvel of heartfelt of appreciation. “Memories That Scar” honors
the Introduction, 3 ¼ pages.

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