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Shoah (4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book Special Edition Box Set) [DVD] 
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Shoah is Claude Lanzmann's landmark documentary meditation on the Holocaust. Assembled from footage shot by the filmmaker during the 1970s and 1980s, it investigates the genocide at the level of experience: the geographical layout of the camps and the ghettos; the daily routines of imprisonment; the inexorable trauma of humiliation, punishment, extermination; and the fascinating insights of those who experienced these events first hand. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present, for the first time on DVD in the UK, this 550-minute masterpiece in a four-disc set with a 180-page book.
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 realise 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 fulfil 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 into talking, 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 neighbour cuts his thumb, I don't feel hurt." The responses, the details are difficult to hear but critical nonetheless. Shoahtells 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 alternate DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Covering in particular Chelmno,(where Jews were 1st killed by gas in vans), to Treblinka, Auschwitz, Birkenau and the Warsaw ghetto Lanzemann does not embellish or re-enact anything, he simply films as survivors, perpertrators and bystanders all tell how they see what happened. I say see and not saw because many have convinced themselves of their own innocence by dismissing what happened. It is for this reason that 'Shoah' needs to be so long in running time, everyone has their own skewed perspective for whatever reason and it is only when enough evidence is gathered from so many differing sides and personalities that you can begin to see a little of what happened.
Bystanders who had rather seen the Jews returned to Israel but were glad to see them go nonetheless, guards "following orders" and a general apathy to one of humanities greatest crimes.
At over 9 hours this is a huge work and requires you to sit through heartbreaking interviews over and over again.
The truth is though that in a society where we are becoming jealous and resentful of those who are not us or do not believe what we do this account is a stark reminder of just how quickly and terribly humans can turn on each other on a massive scale if we allow ourselves to de-humanize others.
I love films but I cannot think of a single other that HAS to be seen. This is without peer and is essential.
The film is essential viewing however whilst it holds my attention I can appreciate that it may be seem as somewhat daunting by some given the length and simplicity of the film. The very simplicity which gives the film its emotional power may be seen as off putting by many.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What can I say about this except Excellent Excellent Excellent. Even though this is mostly subtitled and quite a few hours long, it kept my attention from start to finish. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tony Tidswell
Do you like horror movies ?.... well forget all the slashers, zombies and demonic possession for a moment and take a peek from behind the sofa at this. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Garry
Excellent value, whether I actually finish watching it is another matter.Published 7 months ago by P. P. Ball
What a superb boxset this is, even tho' it had me in tears on at least 3 occasions. Very, VERY highly recommended.Published 7 months ago by Stephen J. Lilley
The story of the Holocaust is extremely powerful, especially when told by those who were there during the time it took place. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JN
Nowhere was it said that this video (originally a French production) is all in German, so I can't understand a word. A waste of quite a bit of money.Published 8 months ago by nonglak