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643 Ratings


Directed by Claude Lanzmann
France, 1985
Documentary, History


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).

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Shoah Directed by Claude Lanzmann

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

1986 | 2 wins including: FIPRESCI Prize (Forum)

1986 | Honorable Mention: OCIC Award (Forum)

International Film Festival Rotterdam

1986 | Winner: Best Documentary (Rotterdam Award)

BAFTA Awards

1987 | 2 wins including: Flaherty Documentary Award

Perhaps one of the most haunting films, precisely because it doesn’t show anything. It can’t. It is a post-trauma film, a film that is visually set in the time after the traumatic event occurred, but where the monologues position us inside the traumatic event itself.
July 10, 2018
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One of the most remarkable passages in the film is a bravura 20-minute sequence, set inside a Tel Aviv barbershop, where Abraham Bomba… describes his personal anguish of having to cut the hair of women, many from his own hometown, just before they were sent to the gas chambers. The mirrored space, which constantly changes Bomba’s relationship to the camera, the shifting angles of the perspective and staging are crucial to the scene’s overwhelming dramatic power and intensity.
July 10, 2013
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Shoah is an angry landmark of demystification, an invaluable refute to more conventional works that seek to contain the atrocities of the Holocaust with reassuring implications of its freakish irrationality. Director Claude Lanzmann often distinguishes himself from many documentarians in fashions that are so quiet as to be nearly taken for granted.
June 24, 2013
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