French Cinema

L’ image et le mot…

Nuit et Brouillard, 1956

“Called the “greatest film of all time” by director Francois Truffaut, the documentary Night and Fog by Alain Resnais shows the holocaust tragedy in all its horror. Though only thirty minutes in length, the film is devastating in its impact, so approach with caution. Night and Fog refers to the arrival of prisoners in Auschwitz under the cover of darkness and also the ultimate failure of the Nazis at Nuremberg to take responsibility for it. Written by Jean Cayrol, a holocaust survivor, and poetically narrated by Michel Bouquet, its gruesome images seem like a surreal nightmare…

 

The film opens in 1955 with an image of a barren field of grass with lush romantic music in the background. The scene then abruptly shifts to wartime. We are in Auschwitz and the prisoners are arriving. We are shown scenes shot after liberation that are so shocking that they have never been made public outside of this film. Resnais does not spare us: the hair shaved off the heads of women piled high on the floor, bodies — men -women – children — are tossed in a garbage pit like so much rubbish, their fat used to make soap. The film only lasts a short time, but the images remain indelible. Unwillingness to acknowledge responsibility is depicted in brief scenes of the Nuremberg Trials. As we witness the conscious distortion of the past still going on today, we are left numb.”

  

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January 17, 2008 - Posted by | Documentaire Historique, L'Occupation au Cinéma, Les Années '50 | , , , ,

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