On the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary, we present Claude Lanzmann's nine–and–a–half hour landmark documentary Shoah, considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made, in a new 35mm print. Twelve years in the making, Shoah is a monumental epic on the Holocaust featuring interviews with survivors, bystanders and perpetrators. The film does not contain any historical footage but rather features interviews which seek to reincarnate'' the tragedy, and scenes of places where the crimes took place. Growing out of the filmmaker’s concern that the genocide was already retreating into the mists of time, the film is a triumph of form and content that reveals hidden truths while rewriting the rules of documentary filmmaking. (1985, nine and a half hours, 35mm) The Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley is also presenting Shoah, Feb 20, 26 & 27.
Shoah is such a complex work that in many ways it cuts across more than one of our Big Ideas, but most explicitly 'Reflect' and “Encounter.' The film fearlessly, radically, and relentlessly listens to the unspeakable, and photographs what cannot be seen. The endless recounting of detail, often repeated, and the film's extreme length work together to create an overwhelming experience for the viewer. As our contemporary culture continues to accelerate the disposal of history, Lanzmann achieves quite the opposite: making the past present.
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The San Francisco Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Adobe Foundation Fund
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