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Extinction through genocide: The films of Eyal Sivan


#1

Filmmaker Eyal Sivan brought up the concept of extinction via genocide, and screened an excerpt from his film “The Specialist: Portrait of a Modern Criminal.”

From his website: "‘THE SPECIALIST’ is a courtroom drama painting the portrait of a zealous bureaucrat who has immense respect for the Law and hierarchy, a police official responsible of the elimination of several million people, a modern criminal.

The prosecution describes the accused as a blood-thirsty pervert, the Machiavellian liar and a serial-killer yet he appears as a quiet family man, both comic and terrifying in his banality. Although he doesn’t deny the role he played in the criminal enterprise that he belonged to, he shelters behind the instructions of his superiors, his vow of allegiance and the obligation of obey orders.
He considers that his role as a mere agent, a purely administrative and logistic one, devoid of all passion, shelters him from the justice of men, even through it may not exempt him from all responsibility.

The accused, Adolf Eichmann, is a man of average height, in his fifties, shortsighted, nearly bald and wracked by nervous tics. Throughout his trial, he sits in a glass box, surrounded by neat piles of documents that he ceaselessly notes, re-reads and leafs through. An expert on emigration and specialist in the “Jewish issue”, responsible for the transportation of “racial deportees” to the Nazis camps between 1941 and 1945, he describes his work with suffocating bureaucratic precision. Before the court and the witnesses who survived the hell that he consigned them to, he admits to having provided the death factories with human convoys for destruction. He struggles to show the conflict between his duty and his conscience and insists on the fact that no one can accuse him of having done his job badly.

Intoxicated on the dizziness of his own powerlessness, the accused describes himself as “a drop in the ocean, an instrument in the hands of superior forces”. If he hadn’t done it, he says, someone else would have done it instead.
The contrast between the monstrous nature of the crime and the mediocrity of the accused is immediately striking and becomes even more apparent during the thirteen scenes making up this documentary feature, revealing the portrait of a terrifyingly ordinary man.

“THE SPECIALIST” is composed exclusively of the previously unseen 350 hours of footage recorded during the dramatic trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, in Jerusalem in 1961."

Continuing the discussion from Extinction Marathon: Visions of the Future – Live coverage by Karen Archey:


#2

This libel trial between Sivan and Alain Finkielkraut might be of interest in this context:
http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/26/sivan.php


#3

Wow, this is fascinating. Definitely not what I was expecting since Sivan presented a video about the Holocaust…