Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories: before March, 1944, when Nazis began to exterminate Hungarian Jews, months in concentration camps, and visiting childhood ... See full summary »
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 »
Fulton and Pepe's 2000 documentary captures Terry Gilliam's attempt to get The Man Who Killed Don Quixote off the ground. Back injuries, freakish storms, and more zoom in to sabotage the project (which has never been resurrected).
Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories: before March, 1944, when Nazis began to exterminate Hungarian Jews, months in concentration camps, and visiting childhood homes more than 50 years later. An historian, a Sonderkommando, a doctor who experimented on Auschwitz prisoners, and US soldiers who were part of the liberation in April, 1945, also comment. Most telling are details: Renée packing her bathing suit, Irene swallowing the diamonds her mother gave her to buy bread, Alice's memorial for her sister Klara, Bill escaping police by jumping into a line of Jews going to Buchenwald, and Tom told by a US soldier to have "all the damn bananas and oranges you can eat." Written by
There is one thing that has troubled me and has troubled the world, that the Germans dedicated man-power and trains and trucks and energy toward the destruction of the Jews to the last day. Had they stopped 6 months before the end of the war and dedicated that energy towards strengthening themselves, they may have carried on the war in London, but it was more important to them to kill the Jew than in winning the war.
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one of the most personal pieces of Holocaust documentary film-making
What can I say that hasn't been said by others who have come across this essential document of the survivors of the holocaust? It goes beyond any kind of rating; watching the people on screen tell their stories, and re-connect with their haunted roots, is about as captivating as it can get, genuinely so, enough to not want to look away. The stories from the five survivors is just enough to make it a crucial piece of history, of something that will survive past their years as their own talked-of memories of what they saw, the people they saw murdered including their families, of being stripped of humanity and more deeply for their souls. The actual footage of almost ten years ago of inside camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen is equally powerful to see.
But it's another that other interviews are included with the likes of an ex-Auschwitz Nazi doctor who didn't go along with his other sadistic colleagues; the American soldiers who were appalled to discover what they thought contained German prisoners of war to be thousands of Jews; the one US Congressman (at the time) to survive the holocaust. The history of this period of the early to mid 40's has become abstracted in the view of society, something so enormous it's even more staggering that similar practices go on in other countries today. The notes of what Hitler did is given notice in the film, but the facts are more as a back-drop for what the Last Days focus is. By director James Moll going in for these women's stories, of what they lost and tried to regain, is just as important to see in its own light as Schindler's List as a dramatization of the facts. It's not too much a wonder it got the best documentary prize at the Oscars. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg (speaking of 'Schindler') and the Shoa foundation.
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