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Theater of Cruelty: Art, Film, and the Shadows of War (New York Review…
by Ian Buruma
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Theater of Cruelty has three main themes that frequently overlap: war, film, and the visual arts. Many of the movies discussed are about war and violence, often related to World War II, and more specifically deal with the two nations that unleashed the war, Germany and Japan: why they did what they did, and how they came to terms with it afterward or didn't. Other essays in the collection, about the diaries of Harry Kessler and Anne Frank, the bombing of German cities, Japan's kamikaze pilots further explore these themes. Many of the artists discussed by Buruma were German or Japanese, including Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Tsuguharu Foujita, as were the filmmakers Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, all of whom were affected in one way or another by fascism and its terrible consequences. Theater of Cruelty is less about war itself than the way people deal with violence and cruelty, in the arts and in life.--Amazon.com.
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