There’s an old refrain, forged at the peak of prestige Oscars bait, that every Holocaust story has been told on the big screen.
But a line of dialogue in Distant Journey — now playing at Film Forum — may have revealed a hole in this cinematic history:
What happened to the Jews who fled to South America around WW2? We’ve been inundated with movies about their American experiences, but their plights and/or successes in other lands may not be an apples-to-apples comparison
These narratives could consider the fact that they were immigrants from colonialist countries, sharing the appearance of colonizers, but hailing from the bottom of their colonialist society’s power structures. How did they navigate these historical landmines? I’m sure some tripped over them, a few consciously avoided, whereas others planted new mines for their adopted compatriots. And how were they treated by locals who were probably as unaware of European atrocities as the rest of the world?
AND, how did the escapees respond when former Nazis also retreated to South America to circumvent Allied justice? We’ve seen movies about the hunts for these Third Reichers, but I’m more curious to find out what daily life was like for the Jews who settled in these “safe havens.”