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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.

Director:

Alain Resnais

Writer:

Jean Cayrol (commentary)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Michel Bouquet ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Reinhard Heydrich ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Heinrich Himmler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Julius Streicher Julius Streicher ... Himself (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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

January 1956 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Night and Fog See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argos Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

François Truffaut considered this 33 minute documentary to be the greatest film ever made. 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: 1933 - The machine gets under way. The nation must all sing the same song, with no wrong notes.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Before its original release, there was a still of a French gendarme (policeman) watching a roundup at Pithiviers. He is easily recognizable by the characteristic French "kepi." Wanting to deny complicity, French censors insisted this shot not be allowed, so for its original release, the image was altered so that a wooden beam covered the gendarme and his kepi. In 1997 or 98, the original version of the film was re-released in France, finally revealing the gendarme. The original American release of the film did not translate all the dialogue for the subtitles, in particular leaving out one of the two references to Jews: "Annette, from Bordeaux." Subsequent releases restored the original text: "Annette, a Jew from Bordeaux." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chronicle of a Summer (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Devastating in its impact
16 December 2002 | by howard.schumannSee 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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