Genocide and the Fine Arts
April 20, 2012
The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir By Claude Lanzmann Translated by Frank Wynne (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 528 pp., $35) I. The film called Shoah runs for more than nine and a half hours. Its subject is the extermination of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis. It features Jewish survivors of the death camps, Poles who lived near the camps, and Germans who organized and ran them—and also its director, Claude Lanzmann, in the background, with his various interpreters. The languages in which these people speak include Yiddish, Hebrew, English, German, Polish, and French: a sound file of Europe.
David Thomson on Films: Can You Watch?
March 19, 2011
We are looking down on a plain building, without distinction or appeal. Its one point of interest seems to be that rapid, rushing water surrounds it to the height of ten feet or so. Then, the story begins. On the current of this water, a sequence of empty automobiles reverse tidily round the corner of the building—it’s very prettily done and somehow confirms the suspicion that drivers may be the problem in cars. A line of them, six or seven, complete the turn, without collision or dispute, and then reverse out of frame.
September 18, 2010
Lebanon Sony Pictures Classics Around a Small Mountain Cinema Guild It took Samuel Maoz more than twenty years, he says, to write Lebanon. In June 1982 he was a tank commander in the division of the Israel Defense Forces that invaded Lebanon. In 1987 he went to film school in Israel and became a writer-director. In 2007 he decided to write about his war experiences. In a press comment he notes: “My memory of the events themselves had become dim and blurred....
Early and Late
July 03, 2010
I Was Born, But... (IFC Center)Wild Grass (Sony Pictures Classics)Alamar (Film Movement) A smart distributor, on whom be peace, has decided to give a theatrical premiere to an early film by Yasujiro Ozu. This is good news, not just because the film itself—I Was Born, But...—is endearing but because it draws further attention to this Japanese master. Much of Ozu is available on DVD, including this film, but more theatrical recognition may increase this country’s care for a wonderful artist. Ozu (1903–1963) began to direct in 1927 and made a total of fifty-four features.