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SHOAH is a magical film about the most barbaric act of the 20th century. Previous commentaries on the Holocaust, with its ravished skeletons and corpses, have left us shaken, but now for the first time, we experience it in our heads, in our flesh.
Claude Lanzmann spent eleven years spanning the globe for surviving camp inmates, SS commandants, and eyewitnesses of the Final Solution-the Nazi's effort to systematically exterminate human beings. without dramatic enactment or archival footage, but with extraordinary testimonies, SHOAH renders the step-by-step machinery of extermination: the minutiae of timetables and finances, the logistics of herding victims into the gas chambers and disposing of the corpses afterward, the bureaucratic procedures which expedited the killing of millions of people without mentioning the words "killing" or "people". Through haunted landscapes and human voice, the past comes brilliantly alive.
SHOAH is a heroic endeavor to humanize the inhuman, to tell the untellable. It is an immensely disturbing, even shattering experience, yet in its solemnity and beauty not a morbid or disheartening one. There are few works of art which leave one with such a deep appreciation for the preciousness and meaning of life.
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