Monday, October 6, 2014

The Last of the Unjust.Lanzmann.2013

A riveting film, 3 1/2 hours notwithstanding. Yet one more addendum to Shoah, it is based on interviews with Murmulstein, the Rabbi who functioned as a tool of the SS in administering the Theresienstadt. The interviews reveal an enormously forceful personality: intelligent, voluble, courageous and wily, capable of defending himself eloquently in a seemingly indefensible position. If he is a demon, he is a fascinating one. Having worked face to face with Eichmann over seven years he ridicules Arendt's conclusion about his "banality". "He was a demon", says Murmulstein. After the war, he was tried and exonerated by a Czech tribunal, spending the rest of his life in peaceful obscurity in Rome. He was ferreted out by the film-maker, and participated with great gusto in the week long interviews, expressing himself as a seasoned thespian to consolidate his position in history through the present film, which is no documentary of a season. Not only is it history, it pertains to the dark regions of human nature. "All martyrs are not saints", he observes, in reference to those who perished.

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