Shoah Reviews

  • Jan 05, 2020

    If you can, watch the Criterion Collection's version. The supplements are essential, and include the best of the shot footage i.e. Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.

    If you can, watch the Criterion Collection's version. The supplements are essential, and include the best of the shot footage i.e. Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.

  • Oct 21, 2019

    Shoah is a very powerful documentary about the holocaust. At nine and a half hours, it is numbing, which is the effect I believe they were going for. You feel like the stories can't get more horrible, but they keep adding up and you are horrified at the weight of what you're hearing, of how the Nazis efficiently and cruelly killed millions in gas chambers, and the desperate horror of being there. There is no archival footage. The movie consists of interviews, shot mostly in close-up (with some exceptions, such as hidden camera footage of interviews with Nazis), panoramas of the overgrown sites where concentration camps were located, and footage of slow-moving trains heading into the locations of the camps. The movie relies on your mind's eye to reconstruct the images as survivors, perpetrators and bystanders relate their eye-witness accounts. The images are almost telepathically communicated to your head, making the experience of this film quite intense. This is a very valuable movie, and it will certainly cause me to pause about making facile comparisons to concentration camps from today's political news.

    Shoah is a very powerful documentary about the holocaust. At nine and a half hours, it is numbing, which is the effect I believe they were going for. You feel like the stories can't get more horrible, but they keep adding up and you are horrified at the weight of what you're hearing, of how the Nazis efficiently and cruelly killed millions in gas chambers, and the desperate horror of being there. There is no archival footage. The movie consists of interviews, shot mostly in close-up (with some exceptions, such as hidden camera footage of interviews with Nazis), panoramas of the overgrown sites where concentration camps were located, and footage of slow-moving trains heading into the locations of the camps. The movie relies on your mind's eye to reconstruct the images as survivors, perpetrators and bystanders relate their eye-witness accounts. The images are almost telepathically communicated to your head, making the experience of this film quite intense. This is a very valuable movie, and it will certainly cause me to pause about making facile comparisons to concentration camps from today's political news.

  • Jun 14, 2019

    Shoah is the Hebrew term for the Holocaust, the genocide of approximately six million of European Jews conducted by Nazis (and their collaborators) during World War II. It is very difficult to find the words to express or think about the Nazi industry of death. I will rather use two quotes. American Colonel William Quinn said about the Dachau concentration camp: "There our troops found sights, sounds, and stenches horrible beyond belief, cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind." Simon Silver, the survivor of the death camp of Chelmno, whose testimony is included in this film, says: "No one can describe it. No one can recreate what happened here. Impossible! And no one can understand it. Even I, here, now. I can't believe I'm here." Everyone should watch this 9.5 hours long documentary, on which the director worked for 11 years. Lanzmann's procedure in the film Shoah is specific: he doesn't use documentary footage at all, only interviews with eyewitnesses, visits historical locations and successfully takes the interviewees on a journey through their memories, so that we as the audience are along with them experiencing the events which they testify about. Due to lack of graphic images of the horrors they are testifying about, we are in a situation to imagine, visualize, live trough - and it's a very, very difficult and painful experience. However, Lanzmann builds the structure of the film very carefully - horrifying testimonies are followed by quiet footage of locations and nature, so we have a few minutes to pull ourselves together and reflect on what we have just heard. Using this rhythm, Lanzmann prevents an overflow of pain and terror in the viewer, preventing you to shut down under the flood of impressions and emotions - throughout the 9.5 hours an intense feeling of horror, despair and anger is being built. The film received very good acceptance and much praise, but also some very harsh criticism, particularly in Poland where it was characterized as misleading because it failed to mention that many Poles helped Jews and hid them from the Nazis, saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, as well as that the Nazis killed about three million Polish civilians. Also, Lanzmann has been criticized for lack of political and historical context and too much focus on the personal stories. Despite the criticism, this astonishing film is a masterpiece and is considered one of the best documentaries ever made. Definitely something everyone should watch.

    Shoah is the Hebrew term for the Holocaust, the genocide of approximately six million of European Jews conducted by Nazis (and their collaborators) during World War II. It is very difficult to find the words to express or think about the Nazi industry of death. I will rather use two quotes. American Colonel William Quinn said about the Dachau concentration camp: "There our troops found sights, sounds, and stenches horrible beyond belief, cruelties so enormous as to be incomprehensible to the normal mind." Simon Silver, the survivor of the death camp of Chelmno, whose testimony is included in this film, says: "No one can describe it. No one can recreate what happened here. Impossible! And no one can understand it. Even I, here, now. I can't believe I'm here." Everyone should watch this 9.5 hours long documentary, on which the director worked for 11 years. Lanzmann's procedure in the film Shoah is specific: he doesn't use documentary footage at all, only interviews with eyewitnesses, visits historical locations and successfully takes the interviewees on a journey through their memories, so that we as the audience are along with them experiencing the events which they testify about. Due to lack of graphic images of the horrors they are testifying about, we are in a situation to imagine, visualize, live trough - and it's a very, very difficult and painful experience. However, Lanzmann builds the structure of the film very carefully - horrifying testimonies are followed by quiet footage of locations and nature, so we have a few minutes to pull ourselves together and reflect on what we have just heard. Using this rhythm, Lanzmann prevents an overflow of pain and terror in the viewer, preventing you to shut down under the flood of impressions and emotions - throughout the 9.5 hours an intense feeling of horror, despair and anger is being built. The film received very good acceptance and much praise, but also some very harsh criticism, particularly in Poland where it was characterized as misleading because it failed to mention that many Poles helped Jews and hid them from the Nazis, saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, as well as that the Nazis killed about three million Polish civilians. Also, Lanzmann has been criticized for lack of political and historical context and too much focus on the personal stories. Despite the criticism, this astonishing film is a masterpiece and is considered one of the best documentaries ever made. Definitely something everyone should watch.

  • Jul 13, 2018

    What a film. I'm not even into documentaries, but this one just works. Directed by Claude Lanzmann (who recently passed away earlier this month). The movie is a 9 1/2 hour (yes you read that right) documentary on the Holocaust. Instead of actually showing footage/archival footage of the event the movie is a series of interviews with three types of people. Jews that were in the concentration camps, people that were in the areas witnessing the events and then finally SS officers that were still alive during this time (it was filmed during the late 70's and early 80's). The approach this way makes this very touching as you are basically witnessing interviews and conversations seeing peoples actual reactions. I would say that every type of interview adds to the experience of this documentary. From the barber that breaks down remembering the events, to the SS officer that conveniently just doesn't remember everything. It's a well done film that is broken up into 4 parts (which i recommend how to watch it unless you have a bladder of steel). It's a beautifully shot film that doesn't even feel dated and gave me a much deeper perspective of the Holocaust and the things that people had to go through during this terrible time. Definitely, would recommend this for any people that love documentaries and even for people that have an appreciation of history.

    What a film. I'm not even into documentaries, but this one just works. Directed by Claude Lanzmann (who recently passed away earlier this month). The movie is a 9 1/2 hour (yes you read that right) documentary on the Holocaust. Instead of actually showing footage/archival footage of the event the movie is a series of interviews with three types of people. Jews that were in the concentration camps, people that were in the areas witnessing the events and then finally SS officers that were still alive during this time (it was filmed during the late 70's and early 80's). The approach this way makes this very touching as you are basically witnessing interviews and conversations seeing peoples actual reactions. I would say that every type of interview adds to the experience of this documentary. From the barber that breaks down remembering the events, to the SS officer that conveniently just doesn't remember everything. It's a well done film that is broken up into 4 parts (which i recommend how to watch it unless you have a bladder of steel). It's a beautifully shot film that doesn't even feel dated and gave me a much deeper perspective of the Holocaust and the things that people had to go through during this terrible time. Definitely, would recommend this for any people that love documentaries and even for people that have an appreciation of history.

  • Jan 20, 2018

    Con diferencia el MEJOR y mas completo documental sobre el holocausto de la historia del cine. Es muy larga(casi 10 horas)pero desde luego la experiencia es mas que brutal.

    Con diferencia el MEJOR y mas completo documental sobre el holocausto de la historia del cine. Es muy larga(casi 10 horas)pero desde luego la experiencia es mas que brutal.

  • Apr 24, 2017

    Everything that Schindler's Ark wasn't, and true.

    Everything that Schindler's Ark wasn't, and true.

  • Sep 01, 2016

    How can a doc made 40 years ago, focused on a topic that happened 70 years ago yet has remained ubiquitous, be so eye opening? While watching, I kept ponging between "most tedious film experience ever" to "masterpiece of journalistic immersion". By the end, I realized, for a 9+ hour film of talking and long takes of scenery, its palpable emotions make it fly by (relatively) quickly. Its refusal to be pompously or glorifying is stunning, ultimately making it a singularly great film I'll never watch again.

    How can a doc made 40 years ago, focused on a topic that happened 70 years ago yet has remained ubiquitous, be so eye opening? While watching, I kept ponging between "most tedious film experience ever" to "masterpiece of journalistic immersion". By the end, I realized, for a 9+ hour film of talking and long takes of scenery, its palpable emotions make it fly by (relatively) quickly. Its refusal to be pompously or glorifying is stunning, ultimately making it a singularly great film I'll never watch again.

  • Aug 19, 2016

    Nearly ten hours of the most unsettling stories you will ever hear. Greatest documentary ever made.

    Nearly ten hours of the most unsettling stories you will ever hear. Greatest documentary ever made.

  • May 10, 2016

    goes on & on but never looses u

    goes on & on but never looses u

  • Apr 14, 2016

    This is one of this movie that cannot leave anyone unmoved. I honestly can say that I didn't get to comprehend the extension and meaning of the Holocaust until I watched this 9h documentary. Probably, I still don't even get to be close to its understanding now but this has been clear to me after watching the movie. This is the kind of historic document with incalculable value to leave proof of what happened during WWII so nobody can really put it in question. I would even say that this movie should be passed in history class in high-schools all around the world. The work done is huge and, although I would say that, at some points, I don't understand why Lanzmann makes some kind of trivial questions, I reckon that the actual purpose is to make the viewer to understand all the aspects of the happenings: the extraordinary and the casual usual ones. A must to be seen, if you feel strong enough to face the terrible truth and fate of millions of people.

    This is one of this movie that cannot leave anyone unmoved. I honestly can say that I didn't get to comprehend the extension and meaning of the Holocaust until I watched this 9h documentary. Probably, I still don't even get to be close to its understanding now but this has been clear to me after watching the movie. This is the kind of historic document with incalculable value to leave proof of what happened during WWII so nobody can really put it in question. I would even say that this movie should be passed in history class in high-schools all around the world. The work done is huge and, although I would say that, at some points, I don't understand why Lanzmann makes some kind of trivial questions, I reckon that the actual purpose is to make the viewer to understand all the aspects of the happenings: the extraordinary and the casual usual ones. A must to be seen, if you feel strong enough to face the terrible truth and fate of millions of people.