Film Claude Lanzmann: SHOAH

Shoa (c) Criterion

Mon, 01/27/2020

Goethe-Institut Chicago

150 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 200
Chicago, lL 60601

Worldwide Screening

The international literature festival berlin [ilb] invites individuals, schools, universities, the media, and cultural institutions to participate in a worldwide film screening of »Shoah« by Claude Lanzmann on January 27, 2020. In the 9½-hour film, both surviving victims and perpetrators of the systematic extermination of Jews by the German Reich have a chance to speak. Lanzmann worked on the film for eleven years, from 1974–1985. The Berlinale awarded the director the Honorary Golden Bear for his life’s work in 2013.

January 27, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, was introduced by the United Nations in 2005 to commemorate the Holocaust and the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on January 27, 1945. The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was the largest German extermination camp during National Socialism. About 1.1 million people were murdered there. A total of over 5.6 million people fell victim to the Holocaust.

Seven Goethe-Instituts in cities across North America – Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, and Washington – are participating in collective observance of this anniversary.

​In the 9.5-hour documentary, surviving victims and perpetrators of the systematic extermination of Jewish people and other persecuted groups by the Third Reich relate the events of the Holocaust to audiences in their own words. For eleven years (1974 to 1985), French director Claude Lanzmann worked on Shoah. In 2013, the Berlinale awarded Lanzmann with the Honorary Golden Bear for his life’s work, but Shoah did not necessarily have a ceremonious premiere. Regarded as an „epochal masterpiece of memory culture,“ Shoah was relegated only to screenings on obscure public programming stations in Germany, instead of having a cinematic release. Consequently, many people nowadays know very little of Claude Lanzmann or his film. In 2005, the United Nations declared January 27 International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, in order to commemorate the Holocaust and the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on January 27, 1945. This worldwide screening of Shoah commemorates 75 years since the liberation, 35 years since the film’s release, and 15 years of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

For a full list of participants across the world, visit:  https://www.literaturfestival.com/ .

Claude Lanzmann (1925–2018) was one of the great French filmmakers and intellectuals. As a teenager, he experienced the Nazi invasion of France. In 1943, grammar-school student Lanzmann joined the resistance in Clermont-Ferrand, and went underground to fight the Nazis. After the war, he completed studies in philosophy, earning his doctorate in 1947, and subsequently took a position as a lecturer at the Free University of Berlin (Freie-Universität Berlin) in 1948/49. In 1953, Lanzmann, who belonged to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s intellectual circle, became a permanent collaborator on the legendary political and literary journal Les Temps Modernes. In 1970, he made his first forays into the world of filmmaking, which also document his political engagement against French policies in Algeria. In his 1973 film Pourquoi Israel?, Lanzmann explored his own Jewish identity. He began work on Shoah the following year. Lanzmann worked on the film for eleven years, from 1974–1985. The Berlinale awarded the director the Honorary Golden Bear for his life’s work in 2013.

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