To write a review of a film such as Shoah seems an impossible task: how to sum up one of the most powerful discourses on film in such a way as to make people realize that this is a documentary of immense consequence, a documentary that is not easy to watch but important to watch, a documentary that not only records the facts, but bears witness. We are commanded "Never forget"; this film helps us to fulfill that mandate, reverberating with the viewer long after the movie has ended. Yes, Holocaust films are plentiful, both fictional and non-, with titles such as The Last Days, Schindler's List, and Life Is Beautiful entering the mainstream. But this is not a film about the Holocaust per se; this is a film about people. It's a meandering, nine-and-a-half-hour film that never shows graphic pictures or delves into the political aspects of what happened in Europe in the 1930s and '40s, but talks with survivors, with SS men, with those who witnessed the extermination of 6 million Jews.
Director Claude Lanzmann spent 11 years tracking people down, cajoling them to talk, asking them questions they didn't want to face. When soldiers refuse to appear on film, Lanzmann sneaks cameras in. When people are on the verge of breaking down and can't answer any more questions, Lanzmann asks anyway. He gives names to the victims--driving through a town that was predominantly Jewish before Hitler's time, a local points out which Jews owned what. Lanzmann travels the world, speaking to workers in Poland, survivors in Israel, officers in Germany. He is not a detached interviewer; his probings are deeply personal. One man farmed the land upon which Treblinka was built. "Didn't the screams bother you?" Lanzmann asks. When the farmer seems to brush the issues aside with a smile, Lanzmann's fury is noticeable. "Didn't all this bother you?" he demands angrily, only to be told, "When my neighbor cuts his thumb, I don't feel hurt." The responses, the details are difficult to hear, but critical nonetheless. Shoah tells the story of the most horrifying event of the 20th century, not chronologically and not with historical detail, but in an even more important way: person by person. --Jenny Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What a masterpiece! Documentary acclaimed world-wide! The history of the holocaust is the example of how some political extremists can set up a military system and brain-washed... Read morePublished on July 9 2013 by Gilles Dupuis
In english. the only problem with this import is that the plastic used for the case smells of death. Cheaper than the alternative which was $300.Published on April 19 2013 by EB
A truly excellent piece of film making. The film does not attempt to impress upon us savage facts about the holocaust - the sheer magnitude that is beyond intelligibility - but... Read morePublished on March 1 2013 by Love Books
Quel film que Shoah de Claude Lanzmann.! Je le cherchais depuis des années et mes efforts sont couronnés. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2012 by monique adam
I first viewed this documentary in 1982 and its message remained with me all these years..could not get it out of my mind. Read morePublished on May 3 2012 by rosamunde
I bought this collection of dvds a long time ago and glad I did as hard to find now at any price.Being so hard to find my wife says that having watched them a number of times I... Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2012 by Johnny Boy
This first aired on PBS sometime in the early to mid eighties. I was in my first couple of years of college at the time. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by Dexter W. Shook