Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Nuit et Brouillard contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage. With Nuit et Brouillard, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of man’s violence toward man and presents the unsettling suggestion that such horrors could come again. —The Criterion Collection
While a seminal figure of the French New Wave, Alain Resnais was not, like so many of his contemporaries, an alumnus of the film journal Cahiers du Cinema. In fact, he existed well outside of the sphere of filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette, with a dedication to formalism, modernist concerns, and social and political issues not found in the work of his fellow innovators. Focusing repeatedly on themes of time and memory, Resnais drew from the well of serious literature to offer a singular philosophical and artistic vantage point, employing enigmatic narrative structures, lush cinematography, and lyrical editing patterns to create some of the most provocative and controversial work of the period. Born June 3, 1922, in Vannes, France, Resnais began making his first 8 mm films at the age of 14. In 1943 he enrolled at the newly formed Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographie, leaving the following year after declaring his studies too theoretical. He… read more
Resnais knows there's no way to portray the holocaust to appear as terrifying as it really was; what he does, though, is give one of the most honest looks at history and decision through an age (that reverberates over time) in hopes that people will not forget. Too, though, does he give us one of the most chilling looks at the concentration camps ever put on film (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Night and Fog (1955) insists for the first time in French cinema on the necessity of facing the most repressed event of our collective unconscious: the Holocaust. Night and Fog depicts the horror of… read review