"I Love and I Hate. Who Can Tell me Why?"
The 2001 movie The Believer is a true-to-life portrayal of a young neo-Nazi whose anti-Semitic views are continually challenged by his Jewish background. The film opens with the quote, "I love and I hate. Who can tell me why?" which sets the stage for the movie's depiction of Danny Balint, a boy torn between love and hate in almost every aspect of his life. Throughout the film Danny tries to calm this internal (and at times external) quarrel, which causes a great deal of friction for the main character. His life and his choices greatly reflect this struggle. Director Henry Bean uses imagery and narrative to show this tension. The article "Joseph and His Brothers: Quarreling After the Holocaust" can be used to parallel Danny's struggle with the biblical story of Joseph in Egypt.
The source of Danny's rage towards Jews seems to stem from his lack of respect for their passivity in regard to their worship of God and their lifestyle choices. From the opening scene, where Abraham's submission to God is voiced by Danny as an extremely embarrassing base for Judaism, to the sensitivity meetings where the seeming indifference of the Jewish father over the death of his 3 year old son at the hands of the Nazis enrages Danny, he perceives Jews to suffer with no attempt to oppose their persecution. As a child Danny even says, "all that Jews are good at is being afraid, at being sacrificed!" It is this anger that drives Danny away from Judaism and into his life as a neo-Nazi. Never quite forgetting his former life, though, he is constantly presented with situations that challenge his seeming innate beliefs. The irony of this is that while Danny tries to run from submission to a higher power, he inadvertently runs right into it again. Near the end of the movie, Danny says that "the Nazis followed Hitler; Jews follow the Torah." This blind compliance with the Torah is what makes Danny hate his fellow Jews even as a...
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