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Shoah: a landmark of twentieth century cinema

Event Date & Time: 15th February, 2015 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX. Room B36, Torrington Square main entrance
Speakers: Dr Ludivine Broch, University of Westminster and Associate of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; Professor Jane Caplan, Emeritus Professor of Modern European History, University of Oxford and Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London; Professor Michael Chanan, University of Roehampton
Tags: Claude Lanzmann, Shoah
Theme: Film/TV, Holocaust, Holocaust Memory
Region / Country: France, Germany, Poland
Historical Period: 20th century



9.00 am – 1.30 pm – Film screening, 1st Era
1.30 pm – 2.00 pm – Break
2.00 pm – 6.45 pm – Film Screening, 2nd Era

7.00pm – 8.15pm – Discussion

This is a rare opportunity to see Shoah in its entirety. You may come for the whole day, to any part of the screening, or join us for the final discussion.

Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985) is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century cinema. To mark the 30th anniversary of the film’s release, the Pears Institute devotes a day to screening this unique film in its entirety – nine hours – and to a discussion dealing with its significance as a cinematic work, as testimony, and as an interpretation of the Holocaust.

Lanzmann’s vision challenged all previous attempts at representing the Holocaust. By turning the bearing of witness into its subject, Shoah remains one of the most powerful cinematic experiences of all times. On the film’s release, Lanzmann commented, ‘I believe very deeply that art and morality are identical. I didn’t try to make a document but a real movie, and I wanted it to be beautiful,’ in order to ‘make the unbearable bearable.’

In the panel discussion that follows the speakers will consider the questions the film raises about history, testimony, artistic freedom and interpretation and the relationship of Shoah to these.  

About the speakers: Ludivine Broch is a specialist on the Holocaust and Vichy France, Jane Caplan is a historian of Nazi Germany and modern Europe, and Michael Chanan is a documentary film maker and a professor of film and video, with a special interest in documentary theory and practice.

Find out more about the film

Part of the Pears Institute Sunday Screenings 2015.
Find out more

Statement – 5

The Pears Institute’s world-leading research underpins its extensive teaching, policy advice and public engagement work.

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