Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! The value of art: Claude Lanzmann may be pompous and insufferable. But he also made Shoah, so nothing else really matters. The Nation | 31 min (7,717 words) All the President’s drones: Looking at Obama’s favorite military tactic through the prism of Just War Theory. Boston Review | 19 min (4,853 words) Joe Eszterhas went to work for Mel Gibson, hoping to making a movie.
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.
Sorts of Truth
March 06, 2006
FATELESS (THINKfilm) CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GREAT MOVIEMAKERS OF HOLLYWOOD'S GOLDEN AGE AT THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (Knopf) MANY OF US HAVE reservations about the Holocaust as a subject for enacted films. Claude Lanzmann, who made the monumental documentary Shoah, said, "Fiction [about the Holocaust] is a transgression. I deeply believe that there are some things that cannot and should not be represented." Still, even if we too think that we believe this, when a Holocaust film is manifestly serious--one can almost say consecrated--it is hard to resist.
November 05, 2001
Early in 1951 I visited Arthur Miller in Brooklyn Heights. I was then an editor at Bantam Books, which had just bought the paperback rights of Death of a Salesman from Viking, the publishers of the hardbound edition. The head of Bantam adored the play but felt that, for the reader of paperbacks, there ought to be more descriptive and connective material to make the characters more vivid and to clarify the time transitions. He knew that I'd had some theater experience, so he delegated me to go out to Brooklyn and ask Miller to make additions to his play. "Thanks," I said with maximum wryness. T
How Buildings Remember
August 28, 1989
“Did you see the gas vans?” Claude Lanzmann asks Mrs. Michelsohn, an old German woman, in his film Shoah. Mrs. Michelsohn lived in Chelmno, 50 yards from the spot where Jews were loaded onto the vans at the Nazi extermination center. “No,” she answers at first, with a look of annoyance. Then her face registers the recognition that Lanzmann and his movie cameras will not be deflected. “Yes,” she acknowledges, she saw the vans, “from the outside. They shuttled back and forth. I never looked inside; I didn’t see the Jews in them.