German Film Analysis

Essay by Cooper08College, UndergraduateB+, November 2014

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GERM 357

Final Essay 1

Question 3 Documentary vs Feature Film

Cooper Hamaliuk


In our history the amount of tragedy that has occurred is greater than any one person could ever imagine. Emerging out of all of this tragedy the holocaust stands alone as the single worst genocide humans have ever done. To truly portray what took place during the holocaust in film is a task that is unachievable through major feature films. The only way to educate people on what took place in camps such as Auschwitz, Belzic and Chelmno, is to interview survivors and to show the real footage that remains. As hard as it is to see these real images and testimonies, this is the only way that people who want to know the truth of the holocaust can get a glimpse of what took place.

In an interview with holocaust survivor Elie Weisel she was asked to share her opinion of the holocaust being represented in film, her response was "how is it possible to create a film about the holocaust if even those who were there cannot comprehend?" (Holocaust Cinema, 3) This is a very deep thought in which film makers must take into consideration.

These people that survived concentration camps, worried about their lives every day, can't understand the holocaust. To give them the true respect they deserve feature films cannot add special effects and comedy when depicting the holocaust. Documentary films such as "Shoah" and "Night and Fog" treat the holocaust with delicacy and try to get some kind of understanding of it. These films are excellent for educating people about how dehumanized Jewish people became during this time. Both documentaries use very different approaches to dig deep into the holocaust. Claude Lanzmann uses his direct interviews with different people involved in...