The Quad honors the indispensable oeuvre of the late Claude Lanzmann with a retrospective in advance of his final film Shoah: The Four Sisters
Titles include: Tsahal, Napalm, The Last of the Unjust, A Visitor from the Living, and a 35mm print of his monumental Shoah
Some filmmakers change cinema, others change consciousness. Claude Lanzmann made an impact on both. Lanzmann’s death this past July at age 92 leaves us his cinematic legacy as historian, keeper of the flame, educator, and—of paramount importance in these times—a truth-teller who exhorted others to do likewise. Born in France to immigrant Jewish parents, he and other members of his family fought in the Resistance during World War II; at age 18, he was smuggling arms. After the war, he became a journalist, professor, and writer who loomed large in France as a leftist intellectual. A number of his articles monitored the covert persistence of Nazism in Germany; the war may have been over, but he knew that vigilance must always be maintained. In his late 40s, he made his first documentary; the following decade would be consumed by work on his second, Shoah. The title is the Hebrew word for disaster or catastrophe, which Lanzmann felt better described “a crime that is without precedent in the history of humanity” than the phrase “the Holocaust.” The movie’s reception and impact went far beyond what any documentary filmmaker could have hoped for. All too aware that there was more to be done in the face of indifference and/or misinformation, Lanzmann persevered in his life’s work and continued for decades to add to the global discourse as well as the art of documentary.
Claude Lanzmann, 1973, Italy/France, 185m, DigiBeta
The Karski Report
Claude Lanzmann, 2010, France, 49m, DigiBeta
The Last of the Unjust
Claude Lanzmann, 2013, France/Austria, 220m, DCP
Claude Lanzmann, France, 100m, 2017, DCP
Claude Lanzmann, 1985, France/UK, 566m, 35mm
Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.
Claude Lanzmann, 2001, France, 95m, DCP
Claude Lanzmann, 1994, France/Germany, 316m, DigiBeta
A Visitor from the Living*
Claude Lanzmann, 1999, France/Germany, 65m, DigiBeta
Shoah: The Four Sisters
Opens Wed November 14
Starting in 1999, Claude Lanzmann made several films that could be considered satellites of Shoah, comprised of interviews conducted in the 1970s that didn’t fit into the final, monumental work. In the last years of the late filmmaker’s life, he devoted a film to four women from four different areas of Eastern Europe with four different destinies, each finding herself improbably alive after war’s end: Ruth Elias from Ostravia, Czechoslovakia; Paula Biren from Lodz, Poland; Ada Lichtman from further south in Krakow; and Hanna Marton from Cluj, or Kolozsvár, in Transylvania. “What they have in common,” wrote Lanzmann, “apart from the specific horrors each of them was subjected to, is their intelligence, an incisive, sharp and carnal intelligence that rejects all pretense and false reasons—in a word—idealism.” In English, French, German, and Hebrew with English subtitles. A Cohen Media Group release
*Screening in two parts
Official Selection: Venice Film Festival, New York Film Festival
"Has the emotional impact and cinematic prowess of great drama.”
—The Hollywood Reporter
Shoah: Four Sisters – Ruth & Ada
Claude Lanzmann, France, 148m, DCP
In The Hippocratic Oath, Ruth Elias tells the story of becoming pregnant in the Theresienstadt ghetto during the war, making her a target for deportation. Sent to Auschwitz, her pregnancy comes to light—placing her in the care of the infamous Josef Mengele. The Merry Flea chronicles Ada Lichtman’s tragic journey from her Wieliczka hometown to Sobibor, where she became one of the few women selected for work in the camp—and who ultimately survived.
Shoah: Four Sisters – Hanna & Paula
Claude Lanzmann, France, 138m, DCP
As the wife of a professor who worked with Rudolf Kasztner—the head of the rescue committee that saved the largest number of Jews in the Holocaust—Hanna Marton’s devastating account in Noah’s Ark expresses guilt that her privileged status saved her life when so many others perished. In Bałuty, Paula Biren candidly recounts her days in the titular slum district of Lodz, where she became part of the German labor force overseen by Chaim Rumkowski, the Nazi-appointed president of the Jewish council of elders.