Night and Fog The Criterion Collection
Special Edition, Criterion Collection
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Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais (Hiroshima mon amour) documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz and Majdanek in Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard), one of the first cinematic reflections on the Holocaust. Juxtaposing the stillness of the abandoned camps empty buildings with haunting wartime footage, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of humanity s violence against humanity, and presents the devastating suggestion that such horrors could occur again.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Excerpt from a 1994 audio interview with director Alain Resnais
- New interview with documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer
- Face aux fantômes, a ninety-nine-minute 2009 documentary featuring historian Sylvie Lindeperg that explores the French memory of the Holocaust and the controversy surrounding the film s release
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by film scholar Colin MacCabe
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Shot in simple black and white and vivid color the film blends a past and present view of the horror of Nazi Germany like no other film I've ever seen. A simple voiceover guides us on a tour of the concentration camps a mere ten years after their liberation. The images are haunting and graphic. The most startling commentary comes at the end of the narration. We are warned that the spector of war is always present, always lurking and that if we are not careful and do not remember the past the horror could return at any moment.
This is a Criterion DVD with relatively few extras. However the viewer does not need extras to feel the mind numbing impact of this film. Provided are a short excerpt from a Renais audio interview in 1994 and crew biographies compiled by Peter Cowie. There is also a music only soundtrack.
I previewed this film with my 13 year-old son whose class was about to study the Holocaust. "You might as well find out the truth" I told him and I expected that he would be nauseated by what was going to pass before his eyes. Yet the visual story was gradual and intermixed with (then) modern day scenes from Auschwitz. I noticed that the time was flying by and still none of the real horrors had yet been seen. Eventually, the pictures told the truth about what man can do to his fellow humans when he is left with only his hate and technology. There was no need to overdo the gruesomeness; the pictures we saw were enough. It wasn't until the movie was over that I understood the director's purpose. The Holocaust did not begin with genocide; it culminated with genocide. Michel Bouquet brings us along gradually and chronologically into the horror. We know what's coming and, dare I say this, what we see through the first two thirds of the movie was not so bad. Was this how it was to live in the lap of mass murder; things may not have seemed right but, then again, they didn't seem so wrong either. People were labelled, then confined, then imprisoned, then punished, then executed, then destroyed. If you bought into the firtst step, was it not possible to follow for a few more steps? I thought that this aspect was the greatness of "Night and Fog" and it struck me as all the more effective because Bouquet did it in just 31 minutes.