Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Claude Lanzmann's Shoah

Claude Lanzmann's nine-hour film Shoah is by far the best film ever made about the Holocaust, and it's better than most of the books on the subject, too. I used to screen it regularly to courses I taught, and no matter how many times I saw it, I always learned something new from each screening. Apparently it is now being re-screened in various American venues, so if you have the chance, go see it. If you've got to make the choice, see the second half. If you're looking for some other trade-off to make the time, cut 18 hours of blog reading, including this one.


Morey Altman said...

It's a brilliant, monumental film. Those who don't think they have what it takes to screen a nine-hour film about the Holocaust, should check out another Lanzmann film, Sobibor, October 14, 1943. If memory serves, it was made from an outtake interview from Shoah, and is a first-hand account of the escape from Sobibor. It's absolutely compelling.

NormanF said...

I saw it on PBS in the 1980s and at the end of the nine hours, you are left with questions. Claude Lanzmann himself said that was the point of the film. There is no answer that makes any sense. If you have to ask "why" then you are waiting to comprehend evil is rational. It isn't.