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Shoah (1985)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, History, War  |  November 1985 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 5,021 users   Metascore: 99/100
Reviews: 42 user | 68 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Srebnik ...
Himself
Michael Podchlebnik ...
Himself
Motke Zaidl ...
Himself
Hanna Zaidl ...
Herself
Jan Piwonski ...
Himself
Itzhak Dugin ...
Himself
Richard Glazer ...
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Paula Biren ...
Herself
Pana Pietyra ...
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Pan Filipowicz ...
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Pan Falborski ...
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Abraham Bomba ...
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Czeslaw Borowi ...
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Henrik Gawkowski ...
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Rudolf Vrba ...
Himself
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Storyline

Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since they only agreed to be interviewed by audio). His style of interviewing by asking for the most minute details is effective at adding up these details to give a horrifying portrait of the events of Nazi genocide. He also shows, or rather lets some of his subjects themselves show, that the anti-Semitism that caused 6 million Jews to die in the Holocaust is still alive and well in many people who still live in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere. Written by Gene Volovich <volovich@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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 »
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Details

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| | | | |

Release Date:

November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Шоа  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,874 (USA) (10 December 2010)

Gross:

$15,642 (USA) (31 December 2010)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the film is exceptionally long and deals with an historical subject, no archive footage of World War II or concentration or death camps was used. Unused footage, of which there was plenty, would be used by Claude Lanzmann to make several other shorter documentaries. See more »

Quotes

Claude Lanzmann: And this "death panic"?
Franz Suchomel: When this "death panic" sets in, one lets go. It's well known when someone's terrified, and knows he's about to die; it can happen in bed. My mother was kneeling by her bed...
Claude Lanzmann: Your mother?
Franz Suchomel: Yes. Then there was a big pile. That's a fact. It's been medically proved.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Siskel & Ebert: Remembering Gene Siskel (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Be prepared for a long haul
22 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's nine and a half hours of travelogue footage and interviews with terribly ordinary middle-aged and senior citizens about events that happened a half-century ago.

Except that the sites visited are the scenes of the systematic mass murder of roughly 11 million men, women and children, including some 6 million Jews, and the ordinary grandparents are the survivors and perpetrators of some of the most horrendous atrocities that mankind has committed upon each other.

It is a terribly draining movie, hypnotic and disorienting, both in it's length and in the blandness, the matter-of-fact descriptions of things that would make a normal person scream in horror. And that is what is so amazingly important and meaningful about this film; that these were ordinary, average people. These were, and are, normal folks like you and me, and anybody, regardless of background, moral upbringing, and standards of decency can be caught up in circumstances beyond their power or experience, and can do the most depraved or heroic things imaginable. It is shocking, insightful, and a very,very important film that forces us to confront our own humanity and decide what that, in fact means.

But it's nine and a half hours long. Be prepared to be drained and leave with your head buzzing.


38 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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