Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Claude Lanzmann’s lionized nine plus hour Holocaust documentary, famously crafted without a frame of historical stock footage, is haunting and powerful in select moments, though more numbing than anything overall and ultimately exhausting and repetitious. It also serves as a show of self-aggrandizement for its filmmaker who interjects himself often, whether he's prodding a survivor to reveal a painfully suppressed memory, bickering with party functionaries over semantics, cajoling a group of Poles to admit to anti-Semitism, or casting blame and attempting to induce guilt on anyone and everyone for the horrors that took place at Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Sobibor among other sites of unparalleled barbarism which are revisited with mesmerizing tracking shots.