Jean Cayrol

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Night And Fog Review


Excellent
When it comes to Holocaust documentaries, there is simply no further word than Alain Resnais's Night and Fog.

Barely 30 minutes in length, the short film comprises a current (for 1955) tour of the various concentration camps intercut with archival video from them. Modern-day documentaries (why they keep making new ones I'll never figure out) show the crumbling facades of Auschwitz and its brethren, but in '55 things were still relatively intact. Although the architecture was already decaying -- a testament to how hastily the camps were constructed -- you can still sense the presence of the victims who resided in the dormitories and gave up their lives in the furnaces. Surprisingly it's not this footage that is the most powerful; rather, when Resnais shows us the present day, with its disintigrating mortar between the bricks and not a soul to be found, we get a real sense of history and how quickly it can create a new identity.

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