ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Shoah (1985)

566m, B&W/Colour
Director: Claude Lanzmann; Cast: Simon Srebnik, Mordechaï Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl, Hanna Zaidl, Jan Piwonski, Richard Glazar, Rudolf Vrba

shoahShoah is a sobering documentary that serves as a historical document for the holocaust as a whole, and as a personal testament for the survivors of Nazi Germany’s death camps. An unusual documentary, Shoah contains almost no historical footage, but rather, consists of first person interviews with victims, witnesses and German perpetrators. When the camera is not focused on the interviewees, the descriptions of their experiences are often accompanied by contemporary footage of the ruins in Treblinka, Chełmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau. In recording the personal stories of the survivors, Shoah is largely apolitical, and a record of their unimaginable circumstances. In the case of witnesses, and particularly those in Poland, Shoah becomes an indictment of complicity through inaction. The film’s vast running time of over nine hours is in large part due to the use of interpreters who translate the accounts into French. Though this mechanism effectively doubles the length of the film, it also provides pause for thought and provides a short distance for the viewer from the emotional distress which often accompanies the horrific personal accounts. An overwhelming viewing experience, Shoah is perhaps the single most important documentary film that will ever be made (Klaus Ming September 2016).


2 comments on “Shoah (1985)

  1. SJHoneywell

    It’s a hard watch, but I think it’s one that pretty much everyone in the world should sit through, perhaps over the course of several days. It’s not one I’d choose to watch again, but I feel that my time was not even a little wasted in it.

    • Klaus

      I viewed Shoah over the course of three consecutive evenings, and while at times it was very difficult to watch, it is the one film on the list that everyone should see. Like yourself, I don’t think I’ll will watch it again, but I know that I will be thinking about this film for a long time to come.

      Hopefully nothing like this will ever have to be made again.

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This entry was posted on 09/24/2016 by in 1001 List, 1980s, All and tagged .
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