‘Shoah’ and the complete works of Claude Lanzmann on display at the Centre Pompidou

The museum’s Public Information Library in Paris is devoting a retrospective to the filmmaker, who died in 2018.

Claude Lanzmann, a visionary filmmaker and intellectual giant, left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape with his groundbreaking documentary, “Shoah.” Released in 1985, the film stands as a monumental and deeply affecting exploration of the Holocaust, eschewing conventional archival footage in favor of a unique approach that relies on survivor testimonies, hidden-camera interviews, and haunting landscapes of the present-day sites.

Lanzmann spent over a decade meticulously crafting “Shoah,” demonstrating an unwavering dedication to capturing the emotional and historical complexity of one of humanity’s darkest chapters. The film’s nine-hour runtime is a testament to Lanzmann’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and unfiltered account of the Holocaust, sparing no detail in its portrayal of the unimaginable atrocities.

“Shoah” is not merely a documentary; it is a cinematic testament, an immersive experience that confronts viewers with the harrowing reality of genocide. Lanzmann’s decision to rely on survivor narratives, devoid of any archival footage, allows the voices of those who lived through the horrors to take center stage, making the film a deeply personal and humanistic exploration.

The filmmaker’s unique approach extends beyond the content of the interviews; his deliberate pacing and attention to detail immerse viewers in the psychological and emotional landscape of the survivors and witnesses. Lanzmann’s lens captures the weight of memory, forcing audiences to confront the profound impact of the Holocaust on both individuals and collective consciousness.

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