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This Oscar-nominated documentary delves into the life and work of French director Claude Lanzmann, examining the 12-year journey undertaken by Lanzmann to make his 1985 film Shoah, a sprawling ten hour long epic documentary about the Holocaust.
Lanzmann lays bare the practical and emotional challenges he faced from 1973–85 in his efforts to convince traumatized death camp survivors to recount their Second World War experiences. Lanzmann recounts the very real dangers he faced in tracking down and secretly filming SS Officers illegally as well as his own teenage years spent fighting in the French Resistance. The film uncovers his romance with Simone de Beauvoir and friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre as well as his difficulties in composing more than 200 hours of material he collected into a single cohesive narrative.
"Lanzmann realized from the off that if he were to take on this commission, it would not be to produce a basic two-hour feature, as the Israelis were envisaging...He knew that to make this film he would have to go all-in, immersing himself fully, until such time as it was complete by his standards. But at that time, in the early 1970s, even he could not have envisaged the sprawling, 12-years-in-the-making, 10-hour-long epic that 'Shoah' would eventually become" - Adam Benzine, Director.
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