"Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah" begins by putting the eponymous journalist/filmmaker's monumental nine-and-a-half-hour documentary on the Holocaust, Shoah (1985), in a quick context with thoughts from the likes of film critic Richard Brody and director Marcel Ophuls. It then dives headlong into a study of its making, with Lanzmann recounting the great emotional toll the seven years of production and five years of editing had on him. It is at once a fascinating portrait of a man openly pessimistic about the world, and a unique distillation of a creative process that yielded one of the most powerful cinematic documents of our time.Written by
The archive footage shown is mostly from the outtakes of Shoah (1985). They are part of the 'Claude Lanzmann Shoah Collection' in the 'Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive' of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. They are in the public domain now. See more »
Claude Lanzmann, Himself:
We lived in a very difficult time. A very difficult century. But at least it was an epic time. And there was a greatness in this.
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"Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of Shoah" falls somewhere between "Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" and a DVD Extra.
If you like true stories told very well, but briefly, and you'd like to get a leg up in an Oscar pool, then this review is for you! In my continuing effort to see as many Oscar nominees as possible, I took advantage of the opportunity to see the shorts.TV theatrical presentation "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2016: Documentary" (NR, 3:00 – with 10 min. intermission). Here's a brief, spoiler-free summary and evaluation of one of those five films...
"Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of Shoah" (40 min.) – This film tells the story of French filmmaker and author Claude Lanzmann, focusing mainly on his challenges in taking twelve years to film and edit his nine-and-a-half-hour-long 1985 Holocaust oral history film "Shoah". After some short interviews testifying to Lanzmann's brilliance and the accomplishment that is "Shoah", Lanzmann himself tells his own story and we see footage from Shoah plus some footage Lanzmann short, but didn't use in the film. This doc calls to mind the engrossing 1991 feature doc "Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" about Francis Ford Coppola's struggles making 1979's "Apocalypse Now". "Spectres of Shoah" generates audience interest in some of the stories it has to tell, but mostly plays out like a glorified DVD extra. "C"
The other four films in the shorts.TV theatrical presentation "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2016: Documentary" are "Body Team 12" "Chau, beyond the Lines" "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" "Last Day of Freedom"
We have posted our articles about each of those other films on their respective pages on this website.
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