Shoah (Claude Lantzmann, 1985) doco

Roger Ebert declined to rate Shoah (Americans are obsessed with ranking films with a star system) because it's not like any other film and so cannot be compared. He was right.

The title of the film refers to what is in English called the Holocaust, from the Hebrew word HaShoah. It's a documentary that in its complete form runs for 9.5 hours. It's Lantzmann (and others) interviewing people that remember the Nazi extermination camps or remember people who were there. The present (1985) state of the locations are also shown, but not historical footage at all. Interviews are presented unedited, in the sense that questions are put in French, translated into Yiddish or Hebrew or Polish, and translated back - which of course accounts for much of the length of the film.

The film is highly regarded, and on many top films list, such as that of Sight and Sound, where it is 29 in the Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time.

I watched two hours and twenty minutes of it until it got to a topic that was beyond bearable - but most of it is hard to watch for more reasons than one.

Garry Gillard | New: 10 March, 2017 | Now: 1 April, 2020