Schindler's List was unprecedented in showing a fresh generation of film-goers how the Second World War brought forth both a capacity for evil, but also for conscience, comradeship and heroism.
Since Thomas Keneally's book and later Steven Spielberg's film caused such ripples across the world, historians have always been at pains to let us know that, however dashing the deeds of Oskar Schindler in Krakow during the time of the city's occupation by the Nazis, he was by no means alone in putting his life on the line for the sake of others.
Luca Zingaretti (from Montalbano) plays Georgio Perlasca, in this true-life story of wartime courage
Now, on DVD for the first time, is the story of another hero - this time Italian, whose story, like Schindler's, took the best part of 40 years to come to light.
Georgio Perlasca was a businessman who, like Schindler, found himself in a place of advantage during the war, in his case, Budapest, 1944. Horrified by the treatment of the Hungarian Jews, he sacrificed his own chances of escape from one of the notorious trains in favour of two young boys, right under the nose of none other than Adolf Eichmann.
Then, in a story that sounds too audacious to be true, he took on the persona of a Spanish consul and, for 45 long days, went about saving the lives of more than 5,000 Jews.
Perlasca, at 197 minutes, is even longer than 'Schindler's List' and more colourful than Spielberg's recently re-mastered, revered black and white opus, but it will leave you with the same sense that… cometh the hour, cometh a few, rare individuals willing to carry the burden of conscience, courage and profound comradeship.
And it is heart-warming to realise that, during this dark period, as well as Schindler and Perlasca, there are no doubt many more, whose inspiring deeds will surely come to light.
'Perlasca: The Courage of a Just Man' is available now on DVD from Odyssey Films. Click here to watch a subtitled trailer.
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