The Believer

I first became interested in this film because the strong characterisation. Danny Bailent is a young man who is struggling with finding his ideological identity. Having too many questions against Judaism, whilst being a yeshiva student and the Rabbis not being able to provide answers, he turns to Nazism. He vents his angers about his unanswered past by lashing out in petty fights with fellow Jews in the streets. Even at this stage the rich character development is beginning to unfold. Danny is annoyed as his perception from his unanswered questions are that Jews never stand–up for themselves, they believe in the incomprehensible, rather than question it. Danny is seen shouting in the street at the Jew he has attacked, “hit me” “hit me”.

I think this film is about the incomprehensible. Its about who can question what’s out there. Danny wants to be able to love the earth to love the what’s around you, the material, he feels scared by the incomprehensible, but his fear chases him throughout the film with strong emblematic signifiers revealing his inner conflict that manifests itself in the outer world through violence.

Good emblematic signifiers, signify how each time Balient is caught between using intellectual rallying and violence to push forward what he believes in and yet as he does he realises that this belief is what was needed in his Yeshiva, that is what was missing when he turned away from it.

A powerful scene between the survivors of the holocaust and the Nazis including Danny Bailent. There is tension and a questioning of history and human nature.

He joins a group of Nazis as he feels that violence is the only way to control his inner conflict with not being able to accept the incomprehensible.

These emblems are empty to the person who doesn’t understand or know what they mean. This is revealed when he goes with his Nazi group that he has joined and they destroy the synagogue. The Nazi group are able to destroy, though ignorance, because they do not understand.  Whereas Danny is faced with his understanding and he cannot destroy mindlessly sefer Torah and sacred objects. This is a key scene where the incomprehensible merges with the material on earth and we are able to see how belief is shaped and understood through human comprehension.

His girlfriend is able to recognise his conflict by polarising his character traits, she holds up a mirror to him and when he sees himself through her eyes, he is sick with disgust.  In this way she helps hom to see who has really become, so that he can step out of his own anger and transform it. She embodies belief by accepting human conflicts and then transcends the conflict, by offering him love that allies itself strongly with belief.