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Night and Fog (The Criterion Collection)

Michel Bouquet , Reinhard Heydrich , Alain Resnais    Unrated   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Though only a short subject, this groundbreaking documentary remains one of the most influential and powerful explorations of the Holocaust ever made. Director Alain Resnais bluntly presents an indictment not only of the Nazis but of the world community, and the film is all the more remarkable for its harsh judgment considering the time in which it was made, less than a decade after the end of the war, when questions of responsibility were not yet being addressed. Juxtaposing archival clips from the concentration camps across Germany and Poland with the present-day denials of the camps' existence, the film seeks to once and for all expose the horrifying truth of the Final Solution, as well as to address the continuing anti-Semitism and bigotry that existed long after the war's end. An invaluable resource and testament to history, this film was a profound influence on all films to address issues of the Holocaust, from Judgment at Nuremberg and Shoah to Schindler's List. Night and Fog remains an essential and indispensable document of the 20th century. --Robert Lane

Product Description

Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps' quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage. With Night and Fog, Resnais investigates the cyclical nature of man's violence toward man and presents the unsettling suggestion that such horrors could come again.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By N. Andersen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Several reviewers have already spoken of the powerful impact of this film as a document of the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust. What is perhaps most remarkable about this film (and that most reviews here have not remarked upon) is that it does not aim to reconstruct a past that is impossible to imagine, but to document the traces this past has left behind for the present, and to suggest that this unimaginable past is nevertheless not so far off. However difficult it may be to imagine being involved in such events (whether as victim or perpetrator) it is nevertheless true that those who were involved are not so very different than ourselves.

In other words, this is not just a straightforward documentary depicting the horrors of the Holocaust. It does that and does so in a way that is very powerful. But what makes the film distinctive is the way in which it raises questions, most insistently the question whether such horrors might be repeated. The film's major contention is that it is very easy to think that events like the Holocaust could never happen again -- that they are singular events and that the people who perpetrated them are monsters, unlike "us" -- but that this perception is a mistake. Many of the individuals involved in the horrible atrocities of the Holocaust were quite ordinary folk who loved their families. The point is that even your next door neighbor or anyone, under the right pressures, in situations where those they harmed had been dehumanized, could potentially also do such things.

The events at Abu Ghraib (and other contemporary atrocities) should remind that people we would otherwise think of as decent, upstanding, citizens are capable of horrible and repulsive actions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome Images May 17 2004
By Erin
Format:VHS Tape
This was a great documentary. I will never forget the images that were shown in this documentary. The style the director used with the archive was great; I felt a huge amount of sadness for the lives lost while watching the present day archive. The technique and style of how he put everything together kept my eyes glued to the television the entire time. The reality of what happened at those camps was so gruesome that it made me want to cry.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just about the Holocaust July 8 2003
Alain Resnais's short, lasting a mere 31 minutes, is justifably famous as the first film to explore the Holocaust after the Second World War (it was released in 1955). More than just a depiction of the events, the film primarily concerned with the filmmaker's inability to convey the historical reality of the event. The colorful scenes Resnais shot of the abandoned camps are contrasted with horrific black-and-white images of Nazi brutality - decapitated skulls gathered in a bucket, a mountain of womens' hair, the living skeletons of the newly-liberated camps - and Resnais asks himself (and us): how can we possibly comprehend, in the safety of being a spectator, the immeasurable inhumanity and suffering of this event? What would it profit us or history as a whole even if we could? Would it really prevent human atrocities from recurring?
The film is best seen as a philosophical exploration rather than a history lesson - indeed, if you don't know at least the key events of the Nazi Regime, you'll find Resnais' elisions confusing. It is still a potent and unsettling film and, within its mere 31 minutes, opened up questions about artistic responsibility and representation that persist today about the Holocaust and other filmed depictions of human atrocities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie if you can handle subtitles. Feb. 18 2014
By M Smith
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very VERY short but definitely worth it. All non-fiction which is graphic as it is raw footage from the liberation at the camps. If you cannot handle images and videos of such things then this do use tray is not for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare, but that's not the film's fault June 11 2013
By JeromeC
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This is a film about the Holocaust. It is a nightmare of a summary. Don't watch this unless you know something about the Holocaust. Even if you do, there are some scenes that I have never seen before and they are terrible in their starkness. You cannot be left uneffected by this film. I would have given it 5 stars except for the music and the fact that 5 stars means that I loved it. Love and this film just do not go together.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving May 13 2004
By A Customer
I was in a Holocaust literature class in college this past semester, and this film was shown. It was so powerful and moving. I will never forget the piles of hair or the bodies being shoveled into large pits by bulldozers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Affecting, but somewhat disappointing as well April 7 2004
By Mel B
Let me start by saying that this documentary will have an effect on the viewer. I would not recommend it to young children or those that are hyper-sensitive to photos of the results of atrocities. There are a number of photos that are a bit shocking to see. For someone who is not familiar with the Holocaust, this film will be an eye opener.
However, it's not the documentary that my father remembers. I am wondering if there is a different version of the documentary out there? From conversations with my father, this film - in comparison to the one he viewed - almost sugar coats the camps and what happened in them, using film shot by the S.S. guards that almost seems innocuous in comparison to reality. The version my father remembers contains more S.S. film clips, including one of a train coming into the station, and continuing through the entire sorting process, up to and into the gas chambers. I am interested in locating this film in order to further my own studies of this horrible period in our history.
My father saw a version that was in German, not French. Perhaps someone out there can help me locate the other version, if it exists?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Documentary
Resnais' Night and Fog is an example of the pure power of image. There is no comfort zone of actors and special effects between the viewer and the movie, it is all real. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Account & Brilliant Documentary...
Night and Fog is a short documentary that depicts Nazi concentration camps in a brutal manner that will not leave anyone untouched. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful horror
I watched Night and Fog this morning.
It's about the Holocaust and was filmed only ten years after liberations of the camps. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Jamescush
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm still speechless
One of my professors showed us this film as part of his history lecture today, and all the images and realities. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2003 by Eimi Star
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that needs to be seen
Alain Resnais Night and Fog is a film that needs to be seen by as many people as possible. This documentary short is more an essay on the nature of man than an exploration of the... Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by Bryan A. Pfleeger
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant and moving
Not to be missed. This should be required viewing for everyone. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. My god, let's hope not. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Night And Fog--will give you chills,provoke your conscious
I have seen a lot of Holocaust movies, but never has one moved me as much as this one. Caution--it is ver graphic, but sometimes the truth can be that way. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by A.M.
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