Yesterday Claude Lanzmann could celebrate his 90 year birthday. It gave me the inspiration to celebrate him by visiting youtube, where you can find a lot of clips from from Shoah and other of his films plus a long, very fine filmed masterclass with him from IDFA 2013, where his ”The Last of the Unjust” (220 mins.) was shown. In his written memoirs, “The Patagonian Hare”, comes this statement: “Even if I lived a hundred lives, I still wouldn’t be exhausted.” Indeed, and he repeats this in the conversation parts of the new film with him, ”Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”, directed by Adam Benzine, 40 mins. with BBC, ZDF/arte, DR and HBO as ”involved tv channels” as it is put on the IDFA Docs for Sale, the excellent service from the festival. Lanzmann says that he still is full of ”vitalité”. As usual it is fascinating to watch and listen to him, while the film apart from those sequences does not really add anything (except for some unknown footage from his interview with a high rank Nazi and the trouble it gave Lanzmann). Anyway, for those who have NOT yet seen ”Shoah”, watching ”Spectres of the Shoah” afterwards makes sense. Here is the description from the IDFA website:  

In 1973, Claude Lanzmann started shooting Shoah, a nearly 10-hour film that many regard as the most important ever made about the Holocaust. The Frenchman worked for a full 12 years on the documentary, which was commissioned by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But making Shoah left its mark on Lanzmann. He filmed 200 hours of material in 14 countries, before spending five years editing it. And then there was the infamous confrontation with a former Nazi and his henchmen. The director described his documentary as “a film about death, not about surviving.” He explains in Spectres of the Shoah how it wore him out and almost deprived him of his will to live. Lanzmann experienced the completion of Shoah as a death, and it took a long time for him to recover from it. The now almost 90-year-old filmmaker discusses his warm friendship with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and his teenage years in the French resistance during the Second World War. The film also features unseen material from his magnum opus.

In a post on FILMKOMMENTAREN Tue Steen Müller comments an interview with him in The Guardian.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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