Critic Consensus: Expansive in its beauty as well as its mind-numbing horror, Shoah is a towering -- and utterly singular -- achievement in cinema.
Critic Reviews for Shoah
With his 9 1/2-hour Shoah, Claude Lanzmann has accomplished the seemingly impossible: He has brought such beauty to his recounting of the horror of the Holocaust that he has made it accessible and comprehensible.
By straightforwardly presenting interviews with people who lived through the Holocaust, Lanzmann makes it real again. Even more impressively, he helps us to see how the horror could have happened.
Shoah is the greatest use of film in motion picture history, taking movies to their highest moral value. For what director/interviewer Lanzmann has done on film is nothing less than revive history, a history so ugly that many would prefer to forget.
[It] has transcended the cinema to become a primary record of the extermination of European Jews during the Second World War.
Why revisit "Shoah'' 25 years after it was first released? Because it matters more a quarter century on, just as it will matter even more in a hundred years, and 200, and - if it and we survive - a thousand.
the film's achievement is to show there are stories worth hearing, and ravaged, resilient faces that reward our scrutiny. The horror, the gallows humor, the shame and the heroism, the lessons of this holocaust -- and all others--have not been exhausted.
Audience Reviews for Shoah
Documentaries are wonderful in terms of presenting an important subject for a viewing audience. The medium has had its fair share of meaningful films. Some documentaries have been very important in terms of its subject. Shoah is such a film. The film, with a run time of over nine hours and directed by Claude Lanzmann is the definitive work on the Holocaust. With extensive interviews with survivors and a few guards and others involved in this horrible tragedy, which gives a comprehensive understanding of the entire ordeal. Brilliantly crafted, with pure subtlety, not using archive footage, Lanzmann paints a vivid picture of this tragedy with interviews and filming the locations where it all happened. I've seen my fair share of documentaries on the subject, and read plenty of books, but Claude Lanzmann's picture is the most comprehensive, detailed and in depth work that will definitely give a better understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust. Even with its terrifying and tragic subject, Shoah is a beautiful, subtle film that manages to be very powerful and eye opening. Never before or since has a documentary been this important. Shoah is a film that needs to be seen due to its subject. Yes, the film is very long, but in watching it, you'll get a better understanding of the Holocaust. Shoah is hard to watch, but ultimately it is necessary so that we can comprehend this tragedy that claimed the lives of so many people. This film is an important history lesson, and it is a film that will stay with you long after you've seen it. The film is nine hours, and is long, like I've stated before, but it covers so much detail that it is necessary to tell the entire story of the Holocaust. Claude Lanzmann has crafted something truly powerful; here. This is an unmatched picture that is in a category of its own, and even if you have doubts about watching it due to its run time, you must definitely give this documentary a shot, you won't regret it. If you've ever been interested in the subject, Shoah is the perfect film to watch and you'll walk away from it with a better understanding of the cruelty of the Nazis towards the Jews during the Second World War. This is among the most powerful films ever made, and if you end up watching it, I think you'll agree.
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