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BETRAYED (2020, NOR) – 8/10

A lavish historical-war spectacle, an emotional and moving Holocaust drama based on real events is brought to us by the not overly famous Norwegian filmmaker Eirik Svensson. Unlike their first neighbors, neutral Sweden, which was spared Nazi occupation, the Nazis occupied Norway without much resistance, just like Denmark. The fate of Hitler and his team for Jews from all over Europe was not spared by Norwegian Jews, who may not have been as many as in some other countries, but they did not have a good time. Although in these Holocaust dramas about the suffering and persecution of these unfortunate people during World War II the story is almost always very similar, Svensson shot a quality drama that had nine nominations in the selection for Best Norwegian Film of the Year.

One of the three awards went to young Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro who embodied young boxer Charles Braude whose family will perish. In the introductory scenes of the film we see the main Norwegian Gestapo Knut Rod (probably the most famous Norwegian actor Anders Danielsen Lie) as in late November 1942 he ordered the transport of Norwegian Jews on a ship to Germany and death camps. Then we go back some three years and meet a young Norwegian Jew Charles, a talented boxer who is planning a wedding for Norwegian Ragnhild (Kristine Kujath Thorp we remember from “Ninjababy”). The Braude family settled in Norway after fleeing Lithuania, where Jews were once persecuted and believed they would find their peace in northern Europe.

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And when the Nazi conquests began in Europe, Braude’s three brothers and sister did not believe that anyone would touch them in Norway. However, the parents were a bit more suspicious because they had already experienced one persecution and were aware that anything could happen. And there will be a classic systemic persecution in which, according to the good old custom, domestic collaborators will be even more zealous and determined in harassing their neighbors with whom they lived peacefully until yesterday. The Braude family will feel all the horror on their skin. They will close their butcher shop first, and after the daughter manages to flee to Sweden, all the male family members will end up in a concentration camp near Oslo.

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Then there will be the looting of Jewish property, and finally the final solution – almost all to the ships and then the road to the death camp where most of their destinies are sealed. As the English name of the film suggests, this is a film that deals with the eternal theme of collaborationism and how in almost all these occupied areas the situation was identical and how the local people so easily agreed to do such evils. Although “Betrayed” deals with the fate of the whole family, in the foreground is Charles, a young man who until yesterday considered himself a Norwegian and who played for the Norwegian boxing team. He believed that this could mean something and that the Norwegians would see him as a full member of society, but when the Nazis arrived, we would see that these natives could hardly wait to get rid of the Jews. You will never have their respect no matter what you do, Father Charles insists, telling him that the times have come when the only thing that matters is to survive, and that, we will see, will not be easy for members of this family.

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