The Conspiracy: An Animated Film About Antisemitism – DOC NYC 2022

Artist: Dasha Bough. Courtesy of Sadie Productions.

The world premiere of The Conspiracy at DOC NYC could not be more timely with antisemitism at its highest levels in several years.

To say that this film is not enjoyable or entertaining would not be an understatement. However, it is essential that as many people watch this film–now more than ever. I’m not sure how many other DOC NYC films I’m getting to because of my schedule this month but I made sure that I watched The Conspiracy at the very least. As a Jewish film critic, this film is under my beat and it’s also about a subject that I’m very knowledgeable about. I’ve written a lot about the subject over the past month, most recently as just after midnight. I feel that it is my responsibility to use my platform to help educate people and that’s one of the reasons why I speak out against Jew-hatred and cover these films.

If you’ve been living in a cave the past few weeks, you might want to start paying attention. People hate Jews. They always have and they always will. Where Antisemitism focuses on the roots of Jew-hatred in France, writer/director Maxim Pozdorovkin goes even further by focusing on three different Jewish families around the world during the past 250 years or so: Dreyfus, Warburg, and Bronstein. If you aren’t familiar with the Dreyfus Affair in France, you should be. What happened to Alfred Dreyfus led to the birth of Theodor Herzl’s modern political Zionist movement. As for the Warburg family, they were a German banking family–some would make their way over to the United States.  Finally, you have the Bronstein family–however, this name will probably be better familiar by the name of Trotsky.

If you’re Jewish, there’s a good bet that you’re familiar with everything in the film. But if you’re not, please use this as a learning lesson by making yourself familiar with antisemitic tropes. The idea of a secret cabal of Jews ruling the world is one of the earliest antisemitic myths that have since become a worldwide conspiracy against the Jews. One publication that played a key role in this international conspiracy is a fabricated text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. You can date The Protocols back to a Jesuit priest, Augustin Barruel. He later received a letter by J.B. Simonini and would go onto share it with many people, including the then-czar of Russia. If you do not know what happens next, the tsar would send Russian Jews to live in Pale of Settlement.

While the film does not cover every antisemitic myth and event, it hits on most of the key ones. It touches on the Holocaust although there’s already several films and TV docs that focus on the worst genocide to befell the Jewish people. It’s biggest focus, of course, is the conspiracy that Jews control the world or are seeking to replace governments. The film doesn’t really begin to delve into Jews controlling the media but does touch on how so many Jews went into banking. It’s because of not being allowed to work in several industries. When you do not allow Jews to work in certain industries, it means going elsewhere for work or starting up industries ourselves–see Hollywood studio moguls but that’s another documentary in and of itself. No, seriously.

Dasha Bough serves as the animation director and let me just say that the animation work is phenomenal. Every animated film brings with it a visual style and this one is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Maybe that’s because it’s so rare seeing Jewish representation in animated films outside of An American Tail! Speaking of representation, I’m not sure about Lilli Kay (No Wikipedia page) but the majority of the cast are Jewish. But anyway, what’s interesting about this film is that news clips and interviews aside, it’s almost entirely in animation. It’s the rare film that qualifies for both Best Animated Feature and Best Documentary Feature.

The Conspiracy is essential viewing and needs to be seen by as many people as possible. If you’re interested in reading up on antisemitism to learn what it is and how to fight it, please visit the ADL and IHRA websites. The Jewish community needs allies more than ever right now.

NARRATOR: Mayim Bialik
CAST: Liev Schreiber, Jason Alexander, Ben Shenkman, Lake Bell, Marin Hinkle, Lilli Kay, Peter Jacobson, George Guidall
FEATURING: Michel Dreyfus, Max Warburg, Nora Volkow

The Conspiracy holds its world premiere during DOC NYC 2022 as the Closing Night selection. Online streaming dates run November 18-27, 2022 and are only viewable in the US and US territories. Grade: 5/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.