Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since they only agreed to be interviewed by audio).
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
While I agree with Camille that everyone should watch this film, I strongly disagree that the cinematography wasn't great. While not very lavish or glamorous, I found myself comparing Lanzmann's contemplative use of landscape to Tarkovsky's meditative cinema. If you have an open mind for it, Shoah reveals itself as a visual masterpiece.
Very important milestone on getting hold of history as long as te witnesses still speak. Lanzmann provides his viewer with many perspectives: not only those of the victims but also the offenders'. His unjudging and curious ways make the told even more unbearable.
This historical document is best summed up in the words of Yitzhak Zuckerman, one of the leaders of the jewish resistance. "If you could lick my heart, it would posion you." One of the best films I have ever seen.
For me it is a question how we can people make to watch this film, who refuse to learn and to know about that part of the history?
Invaluable contribution to the record of the history!
Incredible work of a such small team/crew!!
p.s.only technical problem is in the middle 2-3 hours the sound goes a sec or less ahead of an image - disturbing when we see interview shots.
It's truistic, but so many voices go unheard in conventional histories. Talking head documentaries are commonplace, yet this film contains testimonies that have reshaped my comprehension of the Holocaust, because they focus on it as an everyday activity for those involved (its most incomprehensible element). In particular, the context provided by interviews with German and Polish locals is genuinely revelatory.
This is a phenomenal record of history. The quiet establishing shots are at once haunting and beautiful. The subjects' stories are profoundly moving, but somehow not overwhelming -- they often speak coldly, decades of practice suppressing their emotions, many of them having suffered unimaginable guilt for their relatively good fortune.
"Shoah" is a film to be seen. Do it.