A sensation when it was released twenty-five years ago, Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah has long since passed from “mere” documentary (though it is praised as one of the greatest ever made) to attain a far higher rank, that of one of the most important historical works created in the late twentieth century.
Cinematically, Shoah stands out for its refusal of conventional documentary form; there are no voice-over narrations explaining what or how to think, nor even any historical footage. Instead, there are only the words of the interviewees, all living witnesses to Nazi extermination camps in Poland during World War II. Survivors, camp guards, and peasants all recount their stories to the camera; Lanzmann records, and we, for nine hours, watch, and witness. (“Historians only know facts,” Lanzmann stated. “For me, that’s not nearly enough.”) Culling from over three hundred hours of recorded interviews done over ten years, Lanzmann weaves a narrative from their testimony, returning to certain themes or motifs like a composer and his orchestra.
Beyond its cinematic power, however, lies Shoah’s true statement: to bear witness to tragedy, and create a testimony that will never fade. Twenty-five years on, and the voices in Shoah, while they may have passed on in real life, still speak. “Museums come to terms with death and institute forgetting as well as memory,” Lanzmann wrote. “On the contrary, Shoah, because it is an incarnation, because nothing will ever replace Abraham Bomba’s tears, Filip Muller’s reverberating voice, or the description of the executions in Treblinka by the Unterscharfuhrer Franz Suchomel, Shoah is an absolute barricade, the true wall against oblivion.”
Special Pricing in Effect
BAM/PFA Members, UC Berkeley faculty & staff, non-UC Berkeley students, Seniors, Disabled, Youth: $20 (Parts 1 and 2 will each be ticketed at $10)
General: $24 (Parts 1 and 2 will each be ticketed at $12)
UC Berkeley students: $15 (Parts 1 and 2 will each be ticketed at $7.50) or free admission with Cal Student Film Pass
Reciprocal membership prices will be extended to members of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Self-select “member” when ordering online tickets through BAM/PFA and bring membership card with you to PFA screenings.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
11:30 a.m. Shoah, Part 1
Sunday, February 20, 2011
5:15 p.m. Shoah, Part 2
Saturday, February 26, 2011
5:00 p.m. Shoah, Part 1
Sunday, February 27, 2011
1:00 p.m. Shoah, Part 2
COPRESENTED WITH THE FRENCH CONSULATE SAN FRANCISCO, YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS, THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM, SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, AND THE MAGNES COLLECTION OF JEWISH ART AND LIFE.