7. ‘Shoah’

Nine and a half hour French documentary “Shoah” was a groundbreaking film based on deceit. Claude Lanzmann spent 11 years on his opus, a loosely structured Holocaust documentary that, amazingly, conjures up the past without a single minute of historical footage. To “reincarnate” the tragedy, Lanzmann takes survivors, bystanders and perpetrators back to Che?mno, Treblinka, Auschwitz and Warsaw. Through gentle, insistent questioning, Lanzmann gets even SS officers to frankly discuss the past. However, most of the subjects of the 1985 film did not agree to be filmed, so Lanzmann captured his footage through hidden cameras. The overwhelming film ends with Abraham Bomba, who survived as a barber in Treblinka; cutting hair in a Tel Aviv barbershop while remembering what is was like to shear the locks of those bound for the gas chambers.

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