Following his acclaimed Small Axe anthology and the BBC miniseries Uprising, Steve McQueen returns with the whopping four-hour-long documentary, Occupied City. Based on McQueen’s partner Bianca Stigter’s book, Atlas of an Occupied City, Amsterdam 1940-1945, the film chronicles the city during five years of occupation by the Nazis during WWWII.
Here’s the synopsis: The past collides with our precarious present in Steve McQueen’s bravura documentary Occupied City, informed by the book “Atlas of an Occupied City (Amsterdam 1940-1945),” written by Bianca Stigter. McQueen creates two interlocking portraits: a door-to-door excavation of the Nazi occupation that still haunts his adopted city, and a vivid journey through the last years of pandemic and protest. What emerges is both devastating and life-affirming, an expansive meditation on memory, time, and where we’re headed.
Melanie Hyams narrates the doc, a co-production by A24 and New Regency. McQueen spent three years collecting the archival footage used in the film, which premiered at Cannes.
Occupied City opens in theaters on Christmas Day.