‘The Holocaust & Italy’

(Photo: The Roman hospital ward that housed patients “infected” with Syndrome K, all of whom survived because the Nazis were afraid to enter. Source: ‘Syndrome K’ Facebook page)

“The Holocaust & Italy,” a film and discussion series featuring two Oscar winners for Best Foreign Language Film – The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and Life Is Beautiful — and a new documentary, Syndrome K, kick off this week. The series is presented by the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

Free live discussions will take place via Zoom the next three Thursdays at 8 pm ET/5pm PT. You’ll need to watch each film in advance prior to its discussion. Here’s how:

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)

Discussion: Thursday, August 6, with Nancy Harrowitz, professor of Italian and chair of the Department of Romance at Boston University, and journalist/author Tom Teicholz.

Directed by Vittorio De Sica, this drama about a noble Jewish family in late ‘30s Italy during the rise of anti-Semitism stars Dominique Sanda and Helmut Berger. You can register for the discussion at lamoth.org/news–events/events/finzi-continis, after which you’ll receive a link to stream the movie for free. Or you can watch it right here:

Syndrome K (2019)

Discussion: Thursday, August 13, with Teicholz and Syndrome K filmmaker Stephen Edwards.

Narrated by Ray Liotta, Syndrome K tells the story of a highly contagious, highly fictitious disease (“Syndrome K”) created by three Roman Catholic doctors during the Holocaust to hide Jews in a Vatican-affiliated hospital. You can register for the discussion at lamoth.org/news–events/events/syndromek, after which you’ll receive a link to stream the movie for free.

Life is Beautiful (1997)           

Discussion: Thursday, August 20, with Teicholz and Andrea Malaguti, associate professor of Italian and film studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In addition to Best Foreign Language Film, this comedy/drama also won Oscars for Best Actor (Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote) and Best Music (Nicola Piovani). It’s the story of a Jewish librarian who uses humor and imagination to shield his son from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp. You can register for the discussion at lamoth.org/news–events/events/beautiful. To stream the film in advance, you’ll need to either be an HBO subscriber, rent it for $3.99 from YouTube or numerous other providers, or get it free from Hoopla if you’re a member of a local library that participates.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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