Friday, May 27, 2016

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

Directed by Adam Benzine, Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is a documentary short film that chronicles the life of filmmaker Claude Lanzmann and the 12-year journey he took into making the landmark 1985 documentary film Shoah. The film also explores aspects of his life as well as outtakes that didn’t make it to the final version of Shoah. The result is an eerie yet fascinating film from Adam Benzine.

In 1973, journalist/filmmaker Claude Lanzmann was asked to make a documentary about the Holocaust as he said yes unaware that it would take twelve years to make the film. The resulting film would become a near-10 hour documentary film called Shoah that explored not just the Holocaust but also recollection from its survivors and those who were involved in these atrocities. The documentary short that Adam Benzine isn’t just about the making of the film but also Lanzmann himself as he talks about parts of his own past including a friendship with the famed French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and his romance with the writer Simone de Beauvoir. With Lanzmann being interviewed, he talks about the experience of making the film as well as reveal footage that didn’t make it to the final cut.

Among these rare footage include interviews with former Nazi officers where Lanzmann revealed that he had to shoot their interviews with hidden cameras as one of these attempts landed him in the hospital because an officer’s wife became suspicious and all sorts of crazy things happened. With the aid of cinematographer Alex Ordanis in shooting the interviews with Lanzmann as well as filmmaker Marcel Ophuls and film critic Richard Brody who both provide commentary on Lanzmann and Shoah with sound recordist Daniel Hewitt helping to record many of the interviews and edit many of Lanzmann’s commentary on the world. With some of the rare footage compiled by editor Tiffany Beaudin and a somber piano-based score by Joel Goodman and Benjamin Krause.

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is a riveting film from Adam Benzine. It’s a documentary short that doesn’t just explore the man who would make one of the finest documentary films ever but also the journey it took to make that film as well as the other films he would make from his journey. In the end, Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is a phenomenal film from Adam Benzine.

© thevoid99 2016

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