Discussion Questions: Denial
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In the film, Denial by Mick Jackson, the protagonist, Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) represents the defendant and the factual reality, the truth in a libel suit filed against her by holocaust denier, David Irving (Timothy Spall) who represents the “deniers, and the prejudice of anti-semites. Barrister, Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkson) must prove that Irving lied about the Holocaust. Holocaust deniers do not accept the term “Deniers,” but consider themselves revisionists historians.
Check Rubic and choose 2 questions to answer in Essay Style. Please be specific and use examples to support you main points or thesis.
1) Historian, Lipstadt’s lecture and Q&A at Emory College in Alanta is interrupted by David Irving who challenges anyone in the audience to prove that the gas chambers were used to exterminate the Jews. Since this is the closest we get to a dramatic conflict between the two, why is the scene important for the viewer? What purpose does it serve?
2) Rampton and Lipstadt investigate Auschwitz to prepare their defense. What is symbolic and/or metaphorical about this location and this investigation that provides factual information and evidence to viewers about the reality of the holocaust?
3) This film emphasizes the importance of addressing factual evidence, the “reality” of history. and the writings of historian(s). Would a dramatic court room scene have better served the film and its viewers, and if so, why?
4) What purpose does the use of the editing technique, cross cutting and parallel editing of Lipstadtd’s workouts and the trial achieve? Does it develop or reveal emotional tension that serve the narrative and the viewer? Does it provide a way of confronting/and or dissociating from the emotions distrubing her and additionally, serve as a distancing technique for the viewer to also consider the evidence instead of the emotional effect generated by the English jury trial process.
5) What is the importance of the film, Denial and the actual denial of theHolocaust at a time when politicians can say “fake news” when the facts and reputable news sources don’t suit them and their agenda?