Monday, August 5, 2013

Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.

Claude Lanzmann, 100m, 2001
The eponymous date marks the largely successful uprising at the Sobibor concentration camp. Claude Lanzmann has carved a unique place in the annals of cinema through his documentaries on the most hellish chapter in history. These films, more than any monument, chronicle the events through first person video narratives. The present film, apart from the narrative of Yehuda Lerner, mainly comprises images of trains moving in the environs where these things happened, as they appear in 2001. Trains are eminent symbols of the transportation of human cargo which occurred in the silence of night, shrouded in secrecy, even the hapless sheep unaware of the slaughter which waited. The indirectness and restraint of Lanzmann's films accounts for their power and truthfulness. However, for those not from the effected community, this austere documentary populated by trains, trams and a single speaking torso could be tedious.

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