Steve McQueen connects past horrors of Nazi-era Amsterdam with threatening extremism of today in trailer for Occupied city, a four-hour documentary from 12 years of slavery Helmer inspired by a book by his wife, Dutch filmmaker Bianca Stigter.
The trailer, released by A24 on Tuesday (below), stays focused closely on modern-day Amsterdam as McQueen’s camera captures the residents of his adopted city walking, jogging, skating, dancing , getting married and going about their daily lives.
But these visuals are layered by narrator Melanie Hyams, who recalls the murders, suicides, resistance and betrayals that shook Amsterdam’s Jewish community in the early 1940s, as the grip of the German occupiers closed. around the neck of their besieged community.
This combination of McQueen’s elegant portrait of modern-day Amsterdam and a down-to-earth narration written by Stigter, author of the book Atlas of an occupied city (Amsterdam 1940-1945)which inspired the documentary, connects the 1940s to the current Holocaust, which serves to foreshadow today’s growing extremism.
“In 1942, the deportations started,” Hyam is heard saying at one point in the trailer as McQueen shows a young child running past the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, happily scattering a flock of seagulls across the ground.
In McQueen’s new documentary approach to occupied Amsterdam during the first half of the 1940s, the narration never directly comments on its visuals, but rather indirectly alludes to the ghosts of the past.
The trailer sometimes shows modern-day Amsterdam police moving on horseback, in helicopters or armored trucks to disperse crowds, including those protesting COVID-era crackdowns.
Occupied city, which bowed at Cannes and played at Telluride and the New York Film Festival, will hit theaters on December 25. Production credits for the documentary are shared by A24, New Regency and Film4, among others.
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