Film 285 in the ‘1001 Films to See Before You Die’ challenge is 1985’s ‘Shoah’. Directed by Claude Lanzmann, this French historical war documentary is about The Holocaust, or Shoah in both Hebrew and French. This film consists on interviews and visits to German Holocaust sites across Poland. This film is NINE AND A HALF HOURS LONG!!!!! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Going into this, I knew that I wasn’t going to watch all of it. This was more of a test to see how long I could watch before I got bored or fell asleep. And it didn’t take very long as I managed a whopping 15 minutes before I started to nod off. First of all, did we really need 5 minutes of reading text on the screen? It wasn’t just the odd line. These were giant sized paragraphs. If I wanted to do that much reading, I would’ve got a book off the shelf and read that. Also, I can see why this film is so long. The director has a fear of shouting ‘CUT’! Hell, I don’t think he’s heard of editing. Did we really need to film a random man walking through the woods to then ask him the questions? Why couldn’t they ask the questions while they were walking? Did they not know how to ‘Walk-n-Talk’? Film critic Pauline Kael from The New York described ‘Shoah’ as “logy and exhausting right from the start.” Amen to that. Think that quote sums up by thoughts on the 15 minutes I saw of this film. Speaking of which, who do I see about getting those 15 minutes of my life back? In 2010 Claude Lanzmann had this to say about the film, ‘I still have a lot of material that I filmed and did not include… Some I’ve already used in other films I have done’. Really? Did anyone really walk of theatres in 1985 and say, ‘Hmm, do you know what I want to see? All the deleted scenes from Shoah plus the original film in it’s entirety again!” If those deleted scenes were to be added to this film, this could have been 15/16 hours long judging by how they edited this. Fun Fact – Very critical of other films about the period, Lanzmann nonetheless like Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I managed to say while watching 1985’s ‘Shoah’.
Film – Shoah
Year – 1985
Director – Claude Lanzmann
Written by – Claude Lanzmann
Staring – Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl
IMDb Rating – 8.3
My Rating – ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz
Length – 566 min (9h 26min)
Genre – Documentary, History, War
Let’s just get this over with
One minute of logos later and we get quotes from the director thaning everyone involved for another minute – This film is already dragging
We open in Chelmno on the Narew River in Poland and… more reading
I’m bored already and all I’m doing IS READING!!!!
Seriously! Who wants to read paragraphs of text in a theatre?
5 minutes in and we’re STILL FUCKING READING
If I wanted to read this much text, I’d get a book
It doesn’t help that there’s no background music either. It’s just silence
6 minutes 13 seconds later and we FINALLY get something! We get a man in a boat sailing down a river while singing
I can see why this film is 9 1/2 hours long – The director has never heard of editing/shouting ‘CUT’ after every take
Oh joy! NO SUBTITLES!!!!
Well… better interview him
Why does this man remind me of my university teacher?
Even putting this film at 1.5x speed it still feels slow
Did we really need to film him walking to a random spot to interview him? What was wrong with interviewing him on the boat?
Why do my eyes feel heavy?
Was that the director we just saw?
I bet that if someone was to edit this and take all the lengthy bits out, this film could possibly be about 3 1/2 or 4 hours long