STALAGS - HOLOCAUST AND PORNOGRAPHY IN ISRAEL (D: Ari Libsker, Israel). 62 minutes. Subtitled. April 24, 9 pm, Al Green; April 27, 7 pm, Isabel Bader. Rating: NNNN
This upsetting film asks a ton of questions about the Holocaust, memory and the eroticization of trauma. The focus is on Stalags, a pornographic pulp series published in the 60s in Israel. They featured American fighter pilots abused by female SS guards and were among the first published works to deal with the Holocaust on any level. Astonishingly, their sales peaked during the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
The film also profiles K. Tzetnik, author of House Of Dolls, the 1953 story of a woman's experience as a sex slave in Auschwitz, an account that has since been discredited. That hasn't stopped House Of Dolls from remaining on Israeli high school curricula.
The film is shot mostly in black-and-white, giving it the feel of stock footage. In an intriguing case of reverse aesthetics, the sequence at a March of the Living tour of Auschwitz is one of the few that are in colour.
Stalags doesn't answer many of the questions it asks but it does get inside the Israeli psyche in new ways.