No need for “Denial” from watching this movie on Holocaust deniers


Photo regards to Slate

David Irving (Timothy Spalling) defends himself in the courtroom as his own litigant.

Christine Zhao, Team Leader

Deborah E. Lipstadt always knew she would be picked out and chosen from when she was a child. Now, this was finally her chance.

Directed by Emmy-award winning film director Mick Jackson, “Denial” features the Academy Award winning actress Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt, a history professor at Emory University and a published author at Penguin Books Ltd of “Denying the Holocaust.”

The movie begins by zoning in on Lipstadt in a lecture hall, standing confident as she presents to an audience of university students.

“Whatever the reasons that people become deniers, they often have an agenda which they won’t admit to,” Lipstadt said.

Whatever the reasons that people become deniers, they often have an agenda which they won’t admit to.

Deborah Lipstadt

Little did Lipstadt know that her words at that moment and her claims that denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) was a racist, an anti-Semitic, and a falsifier of history, would shove her into the public’s spotlight. Unbeknownst to Lipstadt, Irving himself had flew from England to question and scrutinize Lipstadt’s book and amass support for his radical views. The eventual result of Lipstadt’s remarks was a libel suit filed in England against Penguin Books, arguing that Lipstadt had written defamatory and false assertions in “Denying the Holocaust.”

To Lipstadt’s horror, she begins to realize that as a defendant in an English court, the entire burden of proof would be on her side, and she herself would be responsible for preventing Holocaust denying from becoming a widely accepted ideology. After over two years of meticulous research and eight weeks of furious debate, Lipdstadt, her legal team, historical witnesses, and Irving (after being egged by protesters) gather inside the packed courtroom to await the judge’s decision.

“Denial” is beautifully filmed with care to the sensitive nature of history. Lipstadt continually battles with her respect of the Holocaust survivors and the firm stance of her lawyer who forbids them from testifying. This film is emotional, leading the audience through the eerie ruins of Auschwitz itself and the intimate moments that Lipstadt experiences with a survivor. This film is intoxicating, capturing the viewer in the film’s universe with personal exchanges between all of the main characters. This film is quality at its finest, convincing me to rise up at 7:00 A.M. to watch the first showing of “Denial” the day after its premiere at Angelika Film Center. “Denial” will be yet another movie to add to my list of favorites and list of movies to rewatch on the occasional unoccupied evening.

[The trial] was uncertain, and exhausting. But they had to do it. Only in hindsight do things get called heroic. At the time, you’re just afraid. Afraid of how things will turn out.

Deborah Lipstadt