A place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the ...
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A place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the last step before the gas chamber. A man: Benjamin Murmelstein, last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council, a fallen hero condemned to exile, who was forced to negotiate day after day from 1938 until the end of the war with Eichmann, to whose trial Murmelstein wasn't even called to testify. Even though he was without a doubt the one who knew the Nazi executioner best. More than twenty-five years after Shoah, Claude Lanzmann's new film reveals a little-known yet fundamental aspect of the Holocaust, and sheds light on the origins of the "Final Solution" like never before. Written by
French professor, film editor and director Claude Lanzmann's sixth documentary feature which he wrote, premiered in the Out of competition section at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on locations in the Czech Republic, Italy, Jerusalem, Austria, Poland and the Republic of Madagascar and is a France-Austria co-production which was produced by producers David Frenkel, Jean Labadie and Danny Krausz. It tells the story about an Austrian- Jewish husband, father, doctor, author and university teacher named Benjamin Murmelstein (1905-1989) and his memories as a seventy-year-old man of his experiences during World War II.
Distinctly and subtly directed by French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, this quietly paced documentary which is narrated by the filmmaker and mostly from the interviewees' point of view, draws a humane and perspicacious portrayal of a former rabbi and member of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Wien, Austria who as a thirty-three-year-old began working for a German citizen named Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962), was accused of collaborating with the enemy, who almost remained completely silent for thirty years and who speaks for himself. While notable for its versatile and atmospheric milieu depictions and distinct cinematography by French cinematographers William Lubtchansky and Caroline Champetier, this narrative-driven story about Jewish history which was released sixty-eight years after a then twelve-year-old American student named Susan Sontag for the first time in her life saw photographs of the German concentration camps Bergen-Belsen (1943-1945) and Dachau (1933-1945), reflects upon what happened to an Elder of the Judenrat also known as the Jewish Council before and after being assigned to a late 18th century fortress town in former Czechoslovakia during the Second World War (1939-1945) called Theresienstadt where a fabricated show was staged so that the world would think it was paradise.
This somewhat biographical, virtuous and monumental three hour and thirty-eight minutes historical testimony of real events which took place in the 20th century, which is set in the mid-1970s and in the 21st century and which contains interviews conducted by the French filmmaker in the late 1970s which originally was intended to be used for another work which was released in the mid-1980s, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle continuity, archival footage, photographs, substantial cinematographic context and the story of a sister and volunteer named Ottla Kafka. A masterfully informative documentary feature.
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