Shoah (Criterion Collection)
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The reason I hate it is because I couldn't watch it. Neither my DVD player, my laptop DVD player, nor my desktop DVD wouldn't show the film! I was very frustrated. Read morePublished 3 months ago by janice Cagan-Teuber
Difficult to watch but so important. It is a lesson to humanity that must be seen and understood. They should never be forgottenPublished 5 months ago by Johnson Cheng
One of the hardest Docs to watch bar none.
This criterion edition takes this important and powerful documentary to a new level that is worth owning and sharing. Read more
Shoah has earned a spot on BoldList's Top 5 Documentaries list!
Other documentaries that made the list that you might also want to check out:
- Hoop Dreams
-... Read more
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