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Night and Fog (The Criterion Collection)
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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.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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?
Shot in simple black and white and vivid color the film blends a past and present view of the horror of Nazi Germany like no other film I've ever seen. A simple voiceover guides us on a tour of the concentration camps a mere ten years after their liberation. The images are haunting and graphic. The most startling commentary comes at the end of the narration. We are warned that the spector of war is always present, always lurking and that if we are not careful and do not remember the past the horror could return at any moment.
This is a Criterion DVD with relatively few extras. However the viewer does not need extras to feel the mind numbing impact of this film. Provided are a short excerpt from a Renais audio interview in 1994 and crew biographies compiled by Peter Cowie. There is also a music only soundtrack.
We talk about the Holocaust, we hear 6 million jews died, 12 million total, we may even see a film like Life is Beautiful, which scratches the surface to what went on inside the camps.
But nothing can prepare you for the sheer mindshattering power of this film.
It is a brief, stark film, shot in black and white and goes on for only a halfhour.
But instead of adding dramatic flourishes, or light intonations, it simply shows images of the horror that was the Holocaust. A musical score flows throughout the background as you are hit with an assault of image after image of what went on behind the camp gates.
You can watch the goriest film with practices 100x as bizarre, but they wont disturb you nearly as much as seeing an entire storeroom filled with hair cut off from the victims of this atrocity or pictures of human beings that stand there as mere skeletons.
The narrator shows incredible constraint in his tone and his line of comments. He simply provides a framework for the images and probes the viewer, "Why did this happen? How could we allow this to go on?"
Not for young children.
It stays with you. If it doesn't disturb you, if it doesn't deeply affect you, you may have to question the depth of your humanity.
Most recent customer reviews
This account of the Holocaust is a hard, unflinching account consisting of archival film shot just after the liberation of the death camps, as well as the larger concentration... Read morePublished 22 months ago by beta119
Very VERY short but definitely worth it. All non-fiction which is graphic as it is raw footage from the liberation at the camps. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2014 by M Smith
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. Read morePublished on June 11 2013 by JeromeC
Several reviewers have already spoken of the powerful impact of this film as a document of the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust. Read morePublished on April 3 2010 by Nate
I was in a Holocaust literature class in college this past semester, and this film was shown. It was so powerful and moving. Read morePublished on May 12 2004
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