Day 338: ‘Holocaust Survivors’ 2018

Day 338
Sunday 3 June 2018  8.16pm
‘Holocaust Survivors’   2018

Shoah (1986)
A Claude Lanzmann Film

Top 100 Films Ever Made –
Shoah is equal #29 with Stalker (1979) in the 2012 BFI Critics Poll
Shoah is equal #48 with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), The Searchers (1956), Psycho (1960), Man With a Movie Camera (1929), L’eclisse (1962), Pickpocket (1959), Pather Panchali (1955), Rear Window (1954), Goodfellas (1990) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) in the 2012 BFI  Directors Poll

Shoah Part 1 (1986) is more confronting than I thought it would be. At the same time it is less shocking than I thought it would be. It’s also more revealing than I could have imagined. The extent to which people opened up in the interviews is beyond what I thought possible and the access to people who were at the concentration camps and experienced the horror of the ovens and are alive to talk about it, is surprising.

At one point, we paused for a coffee break, and Kate asked how I was enjoying it. Before I could answer she withdrew the question, laughed, and my wife said something witheringly sarcastic like, “It’s… it’s… [insert appropriate response here] great!”

The lack of finding words to describe the experience is part of the joy and horror of watching Shoah reveal the depravity and sadness of humanity. There’s no joy other than being more informed about life’s brutal truths at 6.30pm, Sunday 3 June 2018, than 147-minutes earlier, at 4pm. There’s a certain satisfaction of understanding what human beings experienced from several different points of view. It forces me to develop a depth to my personality that previously wasn’t there and gives me a desire to know more.

What people from many different countries were forced to experience is revealed in this extraordinary film which will undoubtedly become more and more horrifying.