In a busy festival season, one’s forgiven for not noticing Steve McQueen made a four-and-a-half-hour documentary about the city of Amsterdam vis-a-vis dueling histories: the Nazi occupation and its precarious place amidst pandemic life. Not quite the crowd-pleaser of May December, nor even an epic with Killers of the Flower Moon‘s entertainment value. A24, however, are putting their weight behind Occupied City, releasing it on December 25 and giving us our first look today.

Although I’m hugely intrigued by what already seems a glut of gorgeous footage and views, our own Luke Hicks was a bit underwhelmed out of Cannes. As he said, “McQueen is one of the best directors working, so it should come as no surprise that expectations were high. Even an hour in, understanding the concept and recognizing its limitations, I expected him to reveal something to us that he’d discovered in the process himself––something about the way we process stories in a format like this, or a therapeutic connective tissue in the images that bring us closer to the past, or fresh perspective. But maybe he’s just revealing that history is best served with visual historical context.”

Find the preview and poster below:

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