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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Totally chilling :
VICTIMS EFFECTED TO HAVE BEEN AT SUCH POINTS ABANDONED OF THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN,
EYE WITNESSES OSCILLATING BETWEEN A COMPASSION WAVE FOR THESE JEWISH POPULATIONS SENT TO DEATH, A MOCKING ATTITUDE FOR THESE RICHES ARRIVING IN PULLMAN CARS IN THE MIDDLE OF HELL AND HYPOCRISIS OF THOSE WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THE TRAINS WERE ALWAYS FULL ON ARRIVAL AND ALWAYS EMPTY AT DEPARTURE.
Essential cinema. Lanzmann's landmark documentary is an awe-inducing endeavour that at even 9 1/2 hours seems like its only beginning to shed light on the holocaust. By keeping to the interviewee and not using any archival material the focus is absolute whether he's talking to prisoner, former Nazi, collaborator or witness. The denials and shirking of responsibility or knowledge is absolutely chilling. ctnd...
Una experiencia sobrecogedora, y una buena muestra de que la nalga francesa es mucho mas resistente que la nacional. Dedicarle csi diez horas seguidas a ver esto, es capaz de borrarle la raya a quien sea...
I really liked the way it was filmed, the scenes and the gloomy atmosphere , however It was a bit dissapointing that they only mentioned Jews. I was expecting this to go a bit further and also mention other people who weren't Jews and died there. Such like gypsies, disabled people, spanish republicans (from the civil war) homesexuals, comunists, intellectuals,.... Anyway I will do remember them as well.
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.
It took me two weeks to finish this film. I've never dug so deep into so many aspects of life or myself. It really raised too many questions for me. The resemblances between capitalism productivity/efficacy and nazi death industry was particularly difficult to digest; we're part of the same terrible history period, I guess.