Glaring Witness: Film’s Ongoing Dilemma With the Holocaust

Cinema is entertainment. This has been the thorny challenge for filmmakers who’ve chosen to grapple with the subject of the Holocaust, and the reason why, from 'Kapò' to 'Schindler's List,' most of their attempts have failed.

The Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo is best remembered for two powerful films, “The Battle of Algiers” (1966) and the Marlon Brando-starring “Burn!” (1969). But in 1960 he directed another very important film, called “Kapò.” It was important for two reasons: It was the first prestigious European movie set in a concentration camp; and the...