Occupied City (2024) Hollywood Movie Reviews

Directed by Steve McQueen, “Occupied City” is a thought-provoking documentary that masterfully bridges the past and the present. Based on the book Atlas of an Occupied City, Amsterdam 1940-1945 by Bianca Stigter, this film delves into the haunting history of Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II. But it doesn’t stop there—it seamlessly weaves in the city’s more recent experiences, including the COVID lockdown. The result is a powerful reflection on memory, time, and the inexorable march of history.

CastMelanie Hyams
CinematographyLennert Hillege
DirectorSteve McQueen
MusicOliver Coates
ProducerSteve McQueen, Floor Onrust, Bianca Stigter, Anna Smith Tenser
Relese DateDecember 2024

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  • Steve McQueen (Director and Producer): McQueen’s vision brings depth and authenticity to every frame. His commitment to capturing the essence of Amsterdam’s past and present is evident throughout.
  • Melanie Hyams (Narrator): Hyams lends her voice to the film, guiding us through the labyrinth of memories and echoes.

“Occupied City” takes us on a journey through time, from the harrowing days of Nazi occupation to the present. The film is a meticulous excavation, unearthing stories, emotions, and forgotten moments. And yet, remarkably, it doesn’t rely on archival footage or talking heads. Instead, it immerses us in the fabric of Amsterdam itself, allowing the city’s streets, buildings, and hidden corners to tell their own tales.

McQueen’s dedication to authenticity shines through. He shot everything covered in Bianca Stigter’s book, resulting in a staggering 266-minute runtime. Yes, there’s even a rumored 36-hour version—a testament to McQueen’s unwavering commitment.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian aptly describes “Occupied City” as a “monumental film.” Its emotional impact accumulates over its runtime, leaving an indelible mark on viewers. McQueen’s exploration of memory, the passage of time, and the city’s resilience is both poignant and timely.

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