Cinematryoshka: The Holocaust in contemporary Russian movies

In recent years Russia has seen the appearance of two notable film projects about the Holocaust.

"Shoes" by Costa Fam is a lyrical composition and a metaphor in which the generalized life of a Holocaust victim is shown from the perspective of a pair of women’s shoes: a shoe appearing in the window of a fashionable store and ending up in a mass grave for shoes at the Auschwitz concentration camp. For 18 minutes the camera does not rise above knee-level and the characters remain faceless, imparting an additional motif of generalization.

The second film, “The Holocaust - Wallpaper Paste?” is quite the opposite: a non-fiction documentary. The author Mumin Shakirov found the female protagonists after a clip from the program “Incredibly Beautiful” was posted on YouTube in Russia. In it, two young girls in response to the question “What’s the Holocaust?” suggest that it is the name of a type of glue for wallpaper. He takes them to Auschwitz without ever imagining what the outcome of the trip might be.

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