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God on Trial

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God on Trial is a PBS "Masterpiece Contemporary" production from 2008 about a group of Jews in Auschwitz who decide to put God on trial for breaking his side of the Davidic covenant. Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, 24 Hour Party People, Hilary and Jackie) wrote the script, and Andy DeEmmony directed. DeEmmony is a fairly prolific British television director, based on his IMDB page, but the only entry I recognized were a few episodes of the 1990s sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf.

Wikipedia says it "is based on an event described by Elie Wiesel in his book The Trial of God, though Boyce describes this tale as 'apocryphal.'" God on Trial feels like an adaptation of a stage play, kind of the way 12 Angry Men does, but Boyce wrote the script for the PBS production. Dominic Cooper, Rupert Graves, Stephen Dillane, Eddie Marsan, and Stellan Skarsgard are among the stars, along with several guys who sort of looked like David Morse.

The level and quality of the discussions the men have during the trial is quite high, dealing mainly with theodicy, and there isn't much action; almost the entire film takes place in the Auschwitz barracks where they live. There's also a frame story about a tour group visiting modern-day Auschwitz (a museum now) that felt annoying and unnecessary until the very last shot, when I realized it was kind of the whole point of the movie.

Here's a clip from one of the strongest scenes in the movie, in which the character rehashes several of the more violent stories from the Old Testament, concluding, "God is not good... We were only on his side."

There's a good balance between reverence and antagonism throughout the film, with several characters on each side of the debate, and even a moment of redemption amidst all the inhumanity of the concentration camp.

Media tag didn't work, so here's a link to the video.

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tyler1984 wrote:

: Media tag didn't work, so here's a link to the video.

FWIW, the media tag doesn't seem to have the URL embedded between the tags -- it's just the tags. In any case, here's the video in question:


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We had this a while ago and I remember missing this at the time and kicking myself.

I'd not really heard of DeEmmony, despite being a big Red Dwarf fan, but his CV is impressive.

The "Mark Thomas" programmes were a dangerously awesome combination of humour an investigative journalism, that were so cutting edge I remember fearing for Thomas' life after ne episode.

"Father Ted" was one of the best comedy shows of the 90s. I'm amazed you've not heard of it.

Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story and Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! were shows in the style of "The Queen" - Michael sheen (as WIlliams) in a part real part imagined version of a famous brit's "real" life story.


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