IMDb > Shoah (1985)
Shoah
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Shoah (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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Shoah -- An epic documentary on the Holocaust featuring interviews with survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators in 14 countries.

Overview

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8.1/10   4,599 votes »
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Release Date:
November 1985 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
13 wins See more »
User Reviews:
May We Never Forget... See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Simon Srebnik ... Himself
Michael Podchlebnik ... Himself
Motke Zaidl ... Himself
Hanna Zaidl ... Herself
Jan Piwonski ... Himself
Itzhak Dugin ... Himself
Richard Glazer ... Himself
Paula Biren ... Herself
Pana Pietyra ... Herself
Pan Filipowicz ... Himself
Pan Falborski ... Himself
Abraham Bomba ... Himself
Czeslaw Borowi ... Himself
Henrik Gawkowski ... Himself
Rudolf Vrba ... Himself
Inge Deutschkron ... Herself
Franz Suchomel ... Himself
Filip Müller ... Himself
Joseph Oberhauser ... Himself
Anton Spiess ... Himself
Raul Hilberg ... Himself
Franz Schaliing ... Himself
Martha Michelsohn ... Herself

Claude Lanzmann ... Himself / Interviewer
Moshe Mordo ... Himself
Armando Aaron ... Himself
Walter Stier ... Himself
Ruth Elias ... Herself
Jan Karski ... Himself
Franz Grassler ... Himself
Gertude Schneider ... Herself
Itzhak Zuckermann ... Himself
Simha Rotem ... Himself

Directed by
Claude Lanzmann 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Claude Lanzmann 

Cinematography by
Dominique Chapuis 
Jimmy Glasberg 
Phil Gries (documentary segments)
William Lubtchansky 
 
Film Editing by
Ziva Postec 
Anna Ruiz (for one of the Treblinka sequences)
 
Production Management
Séverine Olivier-Lacamp .... production manager
Stella Quef .... production manager (as Stella Gregozz-Quef)
 
Sound Department
Bernard Aubouy .... sound engineer
Danielle Fillios .... sound editor
Anne-Marie Lhote .... sound editor (as Anne-Marie L'Hôte)
Michel Vionnet .... sound engineer
 
Visual Effects by
Philippe Tourret .... restoration coordinator
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Daniel Bernard .... gaffer
Caroline Champetier .... assistant camera (as Caroline Champetier de Ribes)
Jean-Yves Escoffier .... assistant camera
Slavek Olczyk .... assistant camera
Andrés Silvart .... assistant camera
 
Editorial Department
Geneviève de Gouvion Saint-Cyr .... assistant editor
Bénédicte Mallet .... assistant editor
Yael Perlov .... assistant editor
Christine Simonot .... assistant editor
Catherine Trouillet .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Mrs. Apflebaum .... interpreter: Yiddish
Corinna Coulmas .... assistant to director
Brigitte Faure .... production accountant
Barbra Janica .... interpreter: Poland
Francine Kaufmann .... interpreter: Hebrew
Iréne Steinfeldt-Levi .... assistant to director
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Runtime:
566 min | Sweden:544 min (25 fps)
Country:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
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Did You Know?

Trivia:
With a running length exceeding 9 hours, this is the longest film listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, the book series edited by Steven Jay Schneider.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 »
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FAQ

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52 out of 56 people found the following review useful.
May We Never Forget..., 30 April 2007
Author: Chris Barry from Canada

I finally saw Shoah yesterday at the Ontario Cinematheque. I sat through the entire 9 and a half hours in one sitting.

Shoah surprised me in several ways. The first was how the interviews were conducted. Lanzmann is a very direct and aggressive interviewer and initially, I was very put off by how he delved into his subjects. He seemed almost wreckless and completely devoid of empathy as he continued to ask the most personal and private questions, never hesitating to force his subjects to think back to what was not only the darkest moment of their lives, but the darkest moments of modern Western history.

Eventually, what happens however, is astonishing. Most interviewees eventually give up their resistance, and very carefully relate their stories. Lanzmann forces them to consider details. How many bodies per furnace? How wide was the ditch? How far was the train ramp from the camp's bunkers? These details facilitate memory and soon, the subjects open up in the most remarkable way.

No matter how you feel, or what you think you know about the Holocaust, this film puts faces to the tragedy in a way few conventional documentaries could. The emphasis here is on memory and oral history.

As one Holocaust victim says early in the film, "It might be good for you to talk about these things. But for me, no." Eventually however, he realizes he must bear witness.

There's one remarkable scene where Lanzmann confronts German settlers in Poland about the previous owner of their home, who were Jewish and sent to Auschwitz after their properties were confiscated.

People who don't find this film 'entertaining' or perhaps 'boring' probably feel that way because, outside of the immediate experiences of the subjects being interviewed, there is no wider context to present the events. A worthwhile companion to this film would be the BBC's Auschwitz: Inside The Nazi State which runs 4 and a half hours, but will help you understand Shoah better.

The other thing I found fascinating about this film was how the translations actually helped you absorb what is being said in a way direct subtitling wouldn't. For instance, most of the subjects speak German or Polish. Lanzmann speaks French mainly and some German. His translator translates what's being said into French and then the subtitles translate the French into English. By being able to look into the eyes of the people speaking, in their own native language, and then read the subtitles, was a very subtle, but very effective tool that deadens the 'shock value' of what is being spoken and gives the viewer more time to absorb the content.

Some people have complained also that the film also has many long takes, which are seemingly of nothing. For instance, Lanzmann lets his camera linger on the remnants of Chelmno, which was razed after the war. Although it just looks like a five minute shot of a field, what struck me was how different this bucolic field must have been in 1942. Making this connection justifies every frame shot. Lanzmann, however, will not force this down your throat. You must be patient.

This is an astonishing film that must be seen by everyone, at least once. Please review the general historical context of the Holocaust before you see it, to get the most out of it, but otherwise, this is living testament of the most vital kind.

Brilliant, essential film-making.

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Should I re-edit Shoah? zachswee
Remake The_Earl_Of_Kent
The Treblinka Guard Interview hnewburn
upgrade this moving'rating jbruyns
Good, not too complicated film journal analysis moiestatz
help me tell survivors stories robert-kolodny
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