LANZMANN (Adam Benzine, UK/Canada). 40 minutes. Rating: NNNN
It took Claude Lanzmann 12 years to make his devastating, essential documentary Shoah, and those years exacted a terrible cost. In addition to the considerable psychic stress of interviewing survivors of the Holocaust, as well as the ordinary people who facilitated the Nazis’ final solution, Lanzmann spent a month in the hospital after a beating by the associates of SS officer Heinz Schubert, who discovered that he and his assistant were secretly recording their interview.
The doc was produced to mark Shoah’s 30th anniversary, and Adam Benzine shows us some of that footage, and gets Lanzmann to discuss it (and key incidents in the film and its production) in a tense, effective conversation. At just 40 minutes, this is taut and focused, while Shoah was methodical and crushing, but that’s not a negative.
Think of it as an essential supplement to one of the most important documentaries ever made.