Survivor: Tormentor of the Past

Survivor: Tormentor of the Past

Image credits: HBO Max

survivor It is a movie about human resilience. But also a movie in which trauma certainly plays a role. Ben Foster plays Harry Heft, a Polish Jew who ends up at Auschwitz in 1942, and is forced by camp guards to play boxing matches against other prisoners. Haft and his comrades who suffered from it are the play of the cruel Nazis. Whoever lost was hit by a bullet or went to the gas chamber. But, as the title hints, Haft survived these atrocities. After a few tracks, he (the boxer who lived from 1925 to 2007) ended up in New York, where he fought Rocky Marciano, among others.

There he also meets his life partner, Miriam (Vicky Krebs), with whom he runs a grocery store in Brooklyn after his boxing career. Gradually she discovers what her husband went through, and how she lives the trauma of Auschwitz in him as a kind of endless nightmare. This trauma is captured in film by fleeting but penetrating memories, depicted in black and white. In a clever parallel montage, we see how Haft’s life in the 1950s in relatively happy circumstances is reflected in his dismal past in the extermination camp. As if part of him died after his time at Auschwitz.

Director Barry Levinson (shake the dogAll this is shown in a simplified way, many scenes are shot in soft focus. The problem, however, is that we see Heft through multiple periods: In 1963, he was already in his forties, so Foster was fitted with a prosthetic nose — and Heft’s nose was badly damaged by then, after all those boxing fights. It seems artificial. But this is Hollywood too survivor It is a typical Hollywood movie. Traditionally, it is centered around the American dream and in this case also how Holocaust survivors found sanctuary in the United States.

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The movie is not very original. But Foster saves a lot with his light-hearted play and uneven moods. He zealously plays a man tormented by his past; A man, despite his successes, sometimes finds it difficult to enjoy life. The man who survived but his thoughts are always with those who were killed at Auschwitz.

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