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Shoah (Criterion Collection)

40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Over a decade in the making, Claude Lanzmann’s nine-hour-plus opus is a monumental investigation of the unthinkable: the murder of more than six million Jews by the Nazis. Using no archival footage, Lanzmann instead focuses on first-person testimonies (of survivors and former Nazis, as well as other witnesses), employing a circular, free-associative method in assembling them. The intellectual yet emotionally overwhelming Shoah is not a film about excavating the past but an intensive portrait of the ways in which the past is always present, and it is inarguably one of the most important cinematic works of all time.

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New high-definition digital film restoration • Three additional films by director Claude Lanzmann: A Visitor from the Living (1999, 68 minutes), Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001, 102 minutes), and The Karski Report (2010, 54 minutes) • New conversation between critic Serge Toubiana and Lanzmann • Interview with Lanzmann about A Visitor from the Living and Sobibor • New conversation between associate director of photography Caroline Champetier and filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin • Trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and writings by Lanzmann


Product Details

  • Actors: None
  • Directors: Claude Lanzmann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: June 25, 2013
  • Run Time: 566 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BX49CME
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,673 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
It seems hard to imagine that it's taken this long to get an updated presentation (whether on DVD or Blu-ray) of the monumental Holocaust documentary "Shoah." The only North American DVD release was ten years ago and, although it is still available, it boasts a hefty suggested retail selling price of $150. It's good to see the Criterion label court such a significant piece of film history, and it's even better to see the attention paid to making this a necessary upgrade. There are loads of Bonus Features in addition to a restored 4K digital film transfer. Released in 1985, this epic experience from filmmaker Claude Lanzmann was over ten years in the making. Debuting with a run time of over nine hours, it is an incredibly immersive and emotionally exhausting experience. It focuses primarily on three particular concentration camps, with insight into a myriad of topics including deportation, methodology, and the Warsaw Ghetto among many others.

Needless to say, there have been countless films through the years to examine the Holocaust, its causes, and its repercussions. But I truly feel like "Shoah" is one of the seminal works on the subject. What makes it so unusual? It is not a film that is focused on the past. Indeed, there is NO archival footage used in the presentation. It is a film that addresses the present and how the past still haunts those that were a part of it. The movie is really a series of interviews (and a contemporary travelogue) and the participants reveal themselves (whether intentionally or not) as the questions probe for the most intimate details of their experiences. Lanzmann spends time with witnesses, survivors, and even ex-members of the Reich. It is alternately chilling, disturbing, heartfelt, painful, and cathartic.
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Format: Blu-ray
"Shoah", the biblical world translates to "calamity" and in Hebrew, it is the term to describe the Holocaust, the genocide of six million Jews during World War II by Nazi Germany.

The word is also the title of French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann's 1985 nine and a half hour documentary, an oral history of the Holocaust. A documentary hailed as one of the greatest and most important documentaries ever made, others calling it a masterpiece and a film that has been critically praised worldwide.

The film would win "Best Documentary" and win the "Special Award" at the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and would win "Best Documentary" at the National Society of Film Critics Awards and International Documentary Association.

And now this epic and important documentary, "Shoah" will be released on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the United States courtesy of The Criterion Collection.

In 1974, Lanzmann began working on his film. The first six years of production featured the recording of interviews of individuals from 14 countries. Lanzmann worked on the interviews for four years before going to Poland and edited the film for five years, editing from 350 hours of raw footage down to 9 1/2 hours for the final cut.

The film are featured in three parts, "The First Era, Part One", "The First Era, Part Two" and "Second Era".

In respect to this film, instead of summarizing the 9 1/2 hour film into a few paragraphs, because each person interviewed is quite important and tell a different story, I will focus on a small summarization of what each person discussed during their interviews:

Simon Srebnik - Simon was one of the two survivors from Chelmno.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Etaoin Shrdlu on April 10, 2013
Format: DVD
When Shoah first came out, and Siskel and Ebert made their "Top 10 Films of the Year" list, they began the show by saying: This year there's Shoah, and everything else!

How true.

Shoah is literally the one film EVERYONE should see - ONCE! (I doubt anyone could bear to sit through it a second time. It's that powerful.)

And don't worry about graphic images. There's actually none in the picture. Instead it's a series of interviews with survivors, witnesses, by-standers, and even concentration camp guards. Some of it is chilling, some of it is bleak, some of it is infuriating, all of it is POWERFUL!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andy Wilson on June 9, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
To anyone who may want to watch this film:

From Wikipedia: Shoah is a 1985 French documentary film directed by Claude Lanzmann about the Holocaust (a.k.a. Shoah). The film consists of his interviews with survivors and visits key Holocaust sites across Poland, including three extermination camps. He presents testimony from survivors, witnesses and bystanders, and perpetrators,including interviews with German personnel.You can read all about it at: http://bit.ly/Cl2K1

As one of the reviewers mentioned, this film is not "entertainment" in any sense of the word. The descriptions of what happened to the people that are interviewed are at once horrific, harrowing and upsetting. It is perhaps, so frightening that when released in 1985, François Mitterrand, the then President of France, attended the screening, after which the Polish government asked France to ban the film (according to the New Yorker - http://nyr.kr/yEcTmI).

Although unrated, I would not screen this film to anyone under 10. It is very disturbing. Others have used the words "masterpiece" and "classic" to describe this motion picture, I would prefer to say that it is, in my opinion one of the most profound historical documentaries ever made.
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