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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Defiance

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January 30, 2009

Movie Review Friday: Defiance

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week, we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 or fewer words and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Defiance (2008)
In theaters now

After the Bielski brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schrieber, and Jamie Bell), who are Jewish, lose the rest of their family during World War II, they head into the forest to hide from the Nazis. A small group of neighbors soon joins them, and word spreads among local Jews that a growing community is keeping safe in the dense woods.

As the small society expands, power struggles emerge related to having food, shelter, and protection for everyone in the camp. The brothers each come to represent a differing opinion about how to respond to force and hate, and viewers can’t help but notice that these philosophies are particularly relevant to the conflicts that exist in present-day Israel.

Though violence and ugliness are omnipresent in this true story, so are love and humanity – and the forest prevails over all. We see the characters, who end up living outdoors for years, encountering wildlife, bathing in – and fording – rivers, ruggedly dealing with bitter winters, and using trees for shelter and protection. Toward the end of the film (shot in Lithuania), the survivors ruminate on the forest’s immense beauty and muse that if anything, at least they have had that.

--Avital Binshtock

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