Claude Lanzmann
April 16, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl (6 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Ordered. No brainer. Thanks.
posted by facetious at 7:34 PM on April 16, 2012

Lanzmann recently spoke at the Harvard Film Archive.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2012

Got it right next to the computer right now.
posted by Wolof at 8:17 PM on April 16, 2012

I took out a subscription to the LRB just for this sort of writing. The current issue also has a fascinating breakdown of David Bowie's career, an excellent article about an archaeological dig in Bordeaux, and a neat little box-out about the link between higher taxes and privatisation. It's one of the best publications going at the minute.
posted by The River Ivel at 12:44 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I keep waiting/hoping for the day that Shoah appears on Netflix instant view. The film is an incredible experience that - despite all the hype/hyperbole surrounding it - really should be seen by everyone.

(also, i heartily agree with the river ivel about lrb. their rss feed is a weekly shot of awesome. that bowie piece was fantastic.)
posted by jmccw at 4:09 AM on April 17, 2012

In 1981, when making Auschwitz and the Allies, a documentary film for the BBC, I got in touch with the estimable Jan Karski, mentioned by Adam Shatz in his review of Claude Lanzmann’s memoir, in the hope of including the remarkable story of his attempt to warn the Allies of the horror unfolding in Poland. Eventually I met with Karski on a research trip to Washington. He agreed to take part, but told me he had been asked by a French director called Claude Lanzmann not to appear in any other documentary. If Lanzmann agreed, then he would happily participate. I rang Lanzmann in Paris. I explained the genesis of the film and argued that surely there was room in both our productions, with their different perspectives, for such an important contribution. ‘No,’ Lanzmann replied, ‘forget your film. I am making a masterpiece.’ The conversation ended.

posted by Wolof at 1:56 AM on April 25, 2012

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