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A Visitor from the Living (1999)

Un vivant qui passe (original title)
An interview with a WWII Red Cross official who wrote a glowing report on a Jewish ghetto-cum-death camp.


Claude Lanzmann


Claude Lanzmann


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Cast overview:
Maurice Rossel Maurice Rossel ... Himself
Claude Lanzmann ... Himself - Interviewer


Claude Lanzmann interviews Maurice Rossel, a Swiss official of the International Red Cross during World War II, who wrote a favorable report of Theresienstadt, a "model" Jewish ghetto that was in reality a death camp. Written by J. Spurlin

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France | Germany



Release Date:

23 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Visitor from the Living See more »

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Referenced in Prisoner of Paradise (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

"Conversationally informative..."
8 February 2015 | by SindreKaspersenSee all my reviews

French professor, film editor and director Claude Lanzmann's fourth documentary feature which he wrote and produced, premiered in New Zealand, was screened in the Homage section at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on locations in the Czech Republic and is a French production. It tells the story about a Swiss citizen named Maurice Rossel who left the Swiss army as a twenty-five-year-old and began working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland.

Distinctly and subtly directed by French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, this quietly paced documentary which is narrated mostly from the interviewees' point of view, draws a singular portrayal of a person's retelling of what he observed after being invited to a concentration camp and what he learned years after writing a report about his experiences there. While notable for its atmospheric milieu depictions and distinct cinematography by French cinematographers William Lubtchansky and Dominique Chapuis, this narrative-driven story reflects upon a place in the former Czechoslovakia called Theresienstadt.

This historical testimony of real events which took place in the mid-1940s during the Second World War in then Czechoslovakia, which is set in the late 1990s in the Czech Republic 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, rhythmic continuity and scenes of Theresienstadt. A conversationally informative documentary future.

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