Shoah (1985)


This past Tuesday was a Jewish Holy Day where we refrain from eating and drinking for 25 hours in order to remind us of the destruction of the Two Holy Temples. In order to try and connect with the somber feeling of this day, every year I try to watch films dealing with another attempt to eradicate my religion; The Holocaust. This year, I watched 4. Here is my second review:

“If you lie enough, you believe your own lies. ” – Franz Suchomel

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 Aug 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Extensive documentary filled with first person interviews with so many people who witnessed the Holocaust stemming from both sides of the events.

My Take on it – This is a film that I’ve been meaning to watch for years, but it’s near ten hour run time and its subject matter has prevented me from making the commitment.

I finally decided to devote part of the day yesterday to this film since I wanted to get myself into a somber mood.

It definitely worked!

This film is amazing because it doesn’t shy away from anything.

It is filled with so many great interviews with people you would least expect to see in a documentary about the Holocaust, but each and every one of them belongs here because they give us such extraordinary perspectives on it all.

As with most Holocaust documentaries, we obviously get to see interviews with survivors, but this film looks at the broader scope of it all.

We also see interviews with train engineers who transported the victims, industrial engineers who build the ideas for the extermination camps, Nazi officers and even the regular peasants from the former occupied German countries.

All of these people give us a unique view at the events and atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis in their attempt to execute the “Final Solution.”

Watching these interviews can be quite jarring since we can see the instinctive responses (both verbal and physical) of these people to the questions asked and we can’t always agree with what they have to say.

The timing of this movie was perfect because most of the interviews were filmed 30-35 years after the events and if many of the interviews weren’t conducted at that time, there is a large chance that these interviews would never have had the opportunity of happening.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a spectacular film and is something that everyone really should try and watch at least once, but I must admit that due to the topics discussed here in graphic detail, it can be quite an exhaustive process.

Regardless, the stories told here are still just the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg of learning about everything that happened during the Holocaust.

I can’t really imagine myself seeing this film again because it was so emotionally draining to watch but it is truly such an amazing feeling being able to experiencing it.

It will definitely be a film that will stay with me for quite a long time because it truly is such a memorable experience.

Bottom Line – Amazing film that is really just the tip of the tip of the tip of the Iceberg regarding the events described. This is such an extensive and exhaustive look at the various kinds of people affected by the German “Final Solution” including survivors, perpetrators, engineers who ran the trains, engineers who build the camps and even the viewpoint of the townspeople still living in the lands that were occupied by the Germans. The various instinctive responses of those interviewed really says so much about their feelings towards everything that happened.  I can understand how this can be considered one of the best films ever made and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment but it is also so emotionally draining by the time you get through it all.  I can’t imagine ever seeing this again, but it was truly an experience to have gone through; one that I won’t forget for quite a long time. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – With a running time of 9 hours and 26 minutes, this is the longest film listed in the book “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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