How to... Hold a Film Night and Discussion

Poster for Defiance

Film: Defiance

Where you can find it: Netflix for free, Amazon prime £3.49, iTunes £4.99, Google Play £2.49.

Running time: 2h 16 min

Certification: 15

Synopsis: Daniel Craig stars as Tuvia Bielski, an ordinary citizen turned hero, in this action-packed epic of family, honour, resistance and salvation. Defiance is a riveting adventure that showcases the extraordinary true story of the Bielski brothers, simple farmers outnumbered and outgunned- who built a community of Jewish refugees, fleeing the Nazis, in the forest of Belorussia. Tuvia, along with his unyielding brother, Zus (Liev Schreiber), were able to help save some 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust in this way.

(From Google Play Store Synopsis)

Discussion Points (Questions and Answers)

  1. Can a film really show what it was like during the Holocaust?
  2. If yes, consider how does the film do this? If no, consider why not.
  1. This is a fictional film based on real events, therefore how much can we expect to learn about the real story of the Bielski brothers?
  2. Be mindful that films will naturally truncate and dramatise reality.
  1. What themes are addressed in this film?
  2. Can you give scene examples of where you think a theme is addressed? How does this theme fit into the film’s narrative? What questions are raised by this theme?
  1. What do you think of when you think of ‘resistance’?
  2. Is resistance violent? Is it peaceful? Give examples.
  1. Were there any obstacles to Jewish resistance?
  2. What could these have been? Why?
  1. How can we use this film to understand Jewish resistance during the Holocaust?
  2. What forms could resistance take? What does it look like specifically in this film?
  1. Stories about Jewish resistance are often overlooked, why do you think that is?
  2. Think about the different types of resistance when you answer this question.
  1. Overall, is this a useful source to learn about the Holocaust?
    1. Yes – What makes it useful? What are the positives of using this film as a source?
    2. No – Why is it not useful? What are the negatives of using this film as a source?

Spend time reflecting on the film and addressing any questions that may have been raised by others throughout the course of the discussion.

For guidance on how to use Defiance for your own film night and discussion, we recommend you watch our Education Officer Ben Fuller talk about Defiance at HET’s own film club: Defiance - #HETFilmClub Episode Two - YouTube.


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