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I think that one of the earliest moments in the film where we can see the brutality of the Holocaust in evidence was a simple moment when Szpilman is walking alongside one of the many walls in Warsaw, he sees a small hole where a child is dragged through it. He tries to help the child through, but it is too late. The camerawork is brilliant because we suddenly hear and see a child, like Szpilman, but then we don't know what happens to the child. We are left with this haunting image of a child trapped underneath a wall, struggling. We don't know if the child is struggling to get inside the wall or get outside of it. We only know there is a child and there is struggle. It's so quick, so instantaneous, but so resonant in our minds that we have little to go on afterwards, but our memory. It is a moment that shows the inhumanity in the Holocaust. It is so present, and yet, so fleeting. Its permanent residence in our mind is what makes the image so haunting.
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