I’m obsessed right now with this one particular movie title. I saw it on a marquee recently and I can’t stop chuckling every time I think about it. You ready? It’s called…
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.
Or, as IMDB refers to it, by its naturalized British title…
Which is approximately twice as funny now, seeing as how the spelling of Pyjamas is twice as funny as Pajamas.
As one probably could predict about the movie by reading the title alone, the story is a bittersweet and poignant tale of a young German boy who befriends a young Jewish boy across a concentration camp fence during the Holocaust.
Are they for real, or has Larry David moved into movie promotion? Didn’t George Costanza take a girl to see this one on a bad date?
In other words: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I hope that the reader will realize that I am not laughing at the Holocaust, about which in my personal opinion there is absolutely nothing that is funny, but instead, I am absolutely scoffing at the [hopefully] well-meaning but tragically misled filmmakers who think they are making a grand statement about humanity with movies like this one.
I have no doubt that by watching The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, we are meant to learn that if we could only relate to one another with the innocence of a child, then cruelty like war or mass murder would never come to pass.
Here’s the thing: There’s nothing new about this sentiment. It’s an admirable sentiment, but sentiment is all it is. It’s a hopelessly naïve reduction, and worse – it’s completely unoriginal, cinematically speaking.
I tend to believe that if a filmmaker can’t make their sweeping statement about unity without invoking such an emotionally and historically loaded event as the Holocaust, then they ought to very quickly find another statement to make. It’s clumsy, irresponsible, even exploitative to use the Holocaust as shorthand for simplistic thematic conclusions, not to mention as a source of automatic audience empathy. I suggest that filmmakers take a break from wielding this atrocious moment in human history like a sledge, and look elsewhere for their congratulatory film festival awards.
Lastly, to those who notice that I am being a bit unfair by judging this movie without having seen it or having done any research at all about its makers or development – you’re totally, completely right. Still – YOU watch it. I sure as hell ain’t gonna! It’s not normally my way to pre-judge a movie, but in this rare case, I’ll take the risk of being wrong in order to spare myself the more likely headache.
Instead, I’ll look forward to the next socially conscious, probably well-meaning, but borderline-offensive ventures from the production team of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas:
Ø The Dad-Blasted Colonist Who Declared
Ø The Brazen Young Lass Who Wish’t For Suffrage Rights
Ø The Interned American Japanese On The Wings Of A Butterfly
Ø The Coloured Gentleman & The Water Fountain
Ø The Immigrant Who Still Awaits On Line At The D. of M.V.
Ø The Dandy Fellow Who Yearned To Marry His Fellow Fellow
Ø The Rigid Caucasian Who Yearned To Learn Dancing
Look for these prestige pictures to promenade at arthouses and then the Kodak Theatre over the next several decades!