'Ever Again' probes causes of modern-day anti-Semitism

Times Staff Writer

The chilling documentary "Ever Again" opens with World War II footage and the words of Adolf Hitler. In what he called his "last political testament," the Nazi leader predicted that a renaissance of the National Socialist movement would someday occur in Germany. It's followed by a disturbing neo-Nazi video released in 2005 that tastelessly reduces the death camps to a dance party called "Housewitz."

The National Democratic Party -- the Nazis' contemporary incarnation in Germany -- stages heavy metal concerts featuring incendiary lyrics to appeal to otherwise apolitical youth. The popularity of the events reflects an upswing in anti-Semitic violence in Europe.

Stirred by this alarming trend, writer-director Richard Trank and writer-producer Rabbi Marvin Hier (Oscar winners for 1997's "The Long Way Home") of the Simon Wiesenthal Center focus not only on the current neo-Nazi movement but what they contend poses an even greater threat to the Jewish people: Islamic extremists. Hier and Alan Dershowitz are among those interviewed to contextualize these views and examine the broader dangers.

One of the film's main theses is that the current anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks are coming from both the right and the left, creating an environment where the hatred is quietly accepted in some circles. Clips included show Portuguese Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, Oxford poet and BBC host Tom Paulin and French Socialist Pascal Boniface making inflammatory remarks about Israel and Jews in general.

Narrated by Kevin Costner, the film argues that the threat from Islam comes from a fanatical minority that silences moderate Muslims through propaganda and fear. Satellite broadcasts from the Mideast beam hatred into the homes of European Muslims with programming showing children speaking blissfully about suicide bombings and martyrdom, which they see as a path to paradise.

If there was any doubt that the documentary is anything but a call for due vigilance, it is put to rest with the Albert Einstein quote that closes the film: "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing...." And though the film also quotes Wiesenthal's exhortation "Hope lives when people remember," the filmmakers are most interested in drawing attention to what is happening now, primarily in Europe, and what it may mean for the future.


MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes. Exclusively at Landmark Westside Pavilion Cinemas, 10800 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A., (310) 281-8223.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World