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The harrowing, acclaimed film by Alain Resnais looking at the horror that was the Holocaust. Commissioned by the French Committee for the History of the Second World War it remains a poignant reminder that anything like this must never happen again. It uses actual footage of the allied troops liberating the camps, intercut with modern colour footage.
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First off dont let the short running time put you off, Resnais achieves more in 30 minutes than hollywoods finest can achieve in 2.5 hours. very brief interview clips and original footage are rapidly spliced together to form a whole picture that lingers in the mind long after the final credits. Resnais illustrates how less is so much more as he uses every second he has to show the sheer horror of the camps.I return to watch again and again and still keep finding details I missed.
Having been made so close to the end of the war this has a resonance of a world still shocked by what it saw.
watch this, think about it and after taking a deep breath move on to 'the sorrow and the pity' dvd and then ' shoah'.
just remember that documentaries, even the most open minded, show you what they want you to see and those interviewed tell you only what they want you to hear. so watch as wide a variety as you can before making your own mind up.
The film shows how women's hair was made into rolls of material, human skin into paper and bones boiled down for glue.
It also shows the nail marks on the ceiling of the gas chambers where people had tried to claw there way out. The film is not a ghoulish look at the horrors of concentration camps, rather a very important documentary that all should see. On the back of the box it notes that after a spate of anti-semitism all French television channels cut their listings on the same evening and showed this film instead.
The commentary is in French but the sub titles are in English and as I was unable to tear my eyes away from the screen anyway I didn't find this a problem at all.
Its 'beauty' lies in its simplicity - there is no drama or sensationalism. It depicts the Holocaust simply as it was, using original footage as a testimony to the unprecedented horror. The commentary is equally excellent in its simplicity and clarity, and compliments perfectly the moving and heart-wrenching images. What makes the documentary great is its power to shock, to make the viewer utterly unable to understand how such industrialised inhumanity could ever occur in a civilised and cultured nation. It also illustrates the immense scale of the genocide, and the total dehumanisation of the victims, whose skinny, lifeless corpses are used as an economic resource for Nazi Germany - to make cloth, to make soap, even to make 'art'. 'Night and Fog' is superb in its depiction of the modern, bureaucratised, and production-line nature of Nazi genocide.
Made in 1955, 'Night and Fog' shows the Holocaust as it was before much scholarly debate had begun. It shows us simply what happened, leaving us with utter incomprehension as to why it happened. Seeing original footage, it makes us wonder what was going through the minds of the perpetrators. Did they really believe that what was being done was in the name of progress? Did they feel any pity? Did they enjoy what they were doing? 'Night and Fog' captures the inability to comprehend how such unspeakable horrors occurred, and does not pretend to have any answers for why the Holocaust could have happened.
At a time when the Holocaust is fading from public memory, I think this documentary should be watched by all.Read more ›
The film opens with the derelict remains of 1950's Auschwitz. A narrator (Michel Bouquet) poetically describes the haunted emptiness of the area, a place were no person enters, but the ghosts of genocide still hang in the air, putrefying the very essence of place. Night and Fog mixes both the contemporary images of Auschwitz with documentary footage filmed by the Allied troops as they entered the grounds where thousand of malnourished, dead people lay strewn about; haunted death masks of anguish, hunger and desperation. The film shows the perversion of the Nazi's, with their seeming obsession with collecting every single element left by all the Jews, homosexuals and disabled dead. We see mountains of glasses, shoes, clothes, and even hair, kept for the records of a moment in history most would like to forget.
But, this is a moment in human history that we should never forget, for as we are told, this is something that happened and therefore it can happen again. (Which of course it did in both Cambodia and Bosnia in the 1970's and 1990's respectively). Toward the end of the film, the narrator poses the significant question - after we are shown Nazi officers in the dock stating that they are "not responsible" - 'who is responsible'? No single person can be held accountable for systematic torture, humiliation and ultimately death on people not seen to fit into a socio-political ideology of racial 'purification'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful in 1945. In 2014 it says nothing you don't already know. And shows nothing you haven't already seen.Published on 13 July 2014 by wacrompton
For years I've sought this little gem, one of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust. Read morePublished on 12 April 2014 by Bing