Friday, October 3, 2014
The Holocaust Films of Claude Lanzmann: Conclusion
Over the course of one day, I sat and watched all 9 and half hours of Shoah, with only a few short breaks. I think this is the best way to watch the film –to let each and every detail accumulate into something far greater than the whole. It is a devastating film in every way. Over the next two days, I watched the three “outtakes” movies that he made in the years since Shoah up until 2013 – when he released The Last of the Unjust (which I watched approximately two months after the long weekend I spent with the other four films). The first three outtakes films are more focused, but less effective – the fourth, The Last of the Unjust, is a more complete film – a brilliant film in its own right. But even the lesser three films take on far more significance when taken as a part of the whole of Shoah. Lanzmann has essentially been working on these films since the 1970s. Taken as a single work, it is one of the greatest works in cinema history. Shoah is, of course, the singular achievement – one of the greatest single films ever made. The others simply add to it. Shoah ensures that Lanzmann’s work will never be forgotten. It shouldn’t be.