8.6/10
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88 user 61 critic

Night and Fog (1956)

Nuit et brouillard (original title)
The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
...
Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
...
Himself - Behind Hitler (archive footage) (uncredited)
Heinrich Himmler ...
Himself - with Hitler (archive footage) (uncredited)
...
Himself - Views Parade (archive footage) (uncredited)
Julius Streicher ...
Himself - Makes Speech (archive footage) (uncredited)
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Storyline

One of the most vivid depictions of the horrors of Nazi Concentration Camps. Filmed in 1955 at several concentration camps in Poland, the film combines new color and black and white footage with black and white newsreels, footage shot by the victorious allies, and stills, to tell the story not only of the camps, but to portray the horror of man's brutal inhumanity. Written by Bill Randolph <wlrlogos@hotmail.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

January 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Night and Fog  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the 1954 exhibition at the Institut Pedagogique National, producer Anatole Dauman asked director Alain Resnais to direct a study of the Holocaust. But Resnais wasn't keen as he didn't want to express opinions on an event that he hadn't witnessed. His condition was that novelist Jean Cayrol agree to script the commentary. Cayrol, however, was even more reluctant to go near the project, given that he was a Holocaust survivor and didn't want to revisit some very painful memories. Resnais' collaborator Chris Marker was able to persuade him otherwise. See more »

Goofs

In the film a popular myth about the Third Reich is presented as fact: The claim that the body fat of prisoners in extermination camps was used to produce soap. Though evidence does exist of small-scale soap production, possibly experimental, in the camp at Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig/Gdansk, mainstream scholars of the Holocaust consider the idea that the Nazis manufactured soap on an industrial scale to be part of World War II folklore. See more »

Quotes

Récitant/Narrator: When the Allies open the doors... all the doors... the deportees look on without understanding. Are they free? Will life know them again?
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Connections

Featured in The Michael Nyman Songbook (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Devastating in its impact
16 December 2002 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Called the "greatest film of all time" by director Francois Truffaut, the documentary Night and Fog by Alain Resnais shows the holocaust tragedy in all its horror. Though the film is only thirty minutes in length, it is devastating in its impact so approach with caution. Night and Fog refers to the arrival of prisoners in Auschwitz under the cover of darkness and also the ultimate failure of the Nazis at Nuremberg to take responsibility for it. Written by Jean Cayrol, a holocaust survivor, and poetically narrated by Michel Bouquet, its gruesome images seem like a surreal nightmare. The purpose of the 30-minute documentary is to document for future generations what actually took place in the camps since this was a time when officialdom was reluctant to talk about what happened and the full extent of the horror was not generally known.

Another purpose is to show the ultimate failure of the Nazis at Nuremburg to take responsibility for it. It would have been welcome to also depict the complicity of others: big business, the other victims of the Nazi's, similar atrocities such as the My Lai massacre, ethnic cleansing, genocide, state violence and so forth but this was not possible given the length of the film and its purpose. Today, when there is so much holocaust denial, people need to be reminded not that the Nazis were demons but of the consequences of unchecked state power without an ethical base.

The film opens in 1955 with an image of a barren field of grass with lush romantic music in the background. The scene then abruptly shifts to wartime. We are in Auschwitz and the prisoners are arriving. We are shown scenes shot after liberation that are so shocking that they have never been made public outside of this film. Resnais does not spare us: the hair shaved off the heads of women piled high on the floor, bodies -- men -women - children -- are tossed in a garbage pit like so much rubbish, their fat used to make soap. The film only lasts a short time, but the images remain indelible. Unwillingness to acknowledge responsibility is depicted in brief scenes of the Nuremberg Trials. As we witness the conscious distortion of the past still going on today, we are left numb.


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