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He Directed One of the Most Famous Documentaries of All Time: Claude Lanzmann Dead at 92

Jul 5, 2018  •  Post A Comment

Veteran film director Claude Lanzmann, whose most famous movie is widely considered to be a masterpiece in the documentary field, has died.

The French-born Lanzmann died today at his home in Paris. He was 92, and had reportedly been ill for a period of time.

Lanzmann is best known for his 1985 documentary “Shoah,” a nine-and-a-half-hour oral history of the Holocaust. His death reportedly came just one day after the theatrical release of his movie “The Four Sisters,” which features testimonials from four Holocaust survivors who were not included in “Shoah.”

“The power of ‘Shoah,’ filmed in the 1970s during Lanzmann’s trips to the barren Polish landscapes where the slaughter of Jews was planned and executed, was in viewing the Holocaust as an event in the present, rather than as history,” the AP reports. “It contained no archival footage, no musical score — just the landscape, trains and recounted memories.”

“Shoah” was just the second movie directed by Lanzmann, who was 59 when it came out.

He wrote in his autobiography: “I knew that the subject of the film would be death itself. Death rather than survival. For 12 years I tried to stare relentlessly into the black sun of the Shoah.”

The AP quotes Avner Shalev, chairman of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, saying: “Claude Lanzmann’s cinematic work left an indelible mark on the collective memory, and shaped the consciousness of the Holocaust of viewers around the world, in these and other generations. His departure from us now, along with our recent separation from many Holocaust survivors, marks the end of an era.”

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