The state of Israel had commissioned Claude Lanzmann to direct a two-and-a-half-hour long documentary, scheduled to be concluded within an 18-month period and tasked with presenting the Holocaust tragedy from the Israeli standpoint. As he delved deeper and deeper into his quest, Lanzmann gradually broke away from the initial intentions and devoted himself wholeheartedly to a sacred mission, offering humanity a priceless document that exceeds the boundaries of documentary, cinema, and art. Shoah, a shattering 566-minute journey, carries the viewer to the darkest pages of the 20th century's most appalling tragedy. Lanzmann dedicated 11 years of tireless work for the completion of the film, conducting innumerable interviews with concentration camp survivors, ex-Nazi wardens and officials, and eyewitnesses, very often putting his own life at risk. Divided into four distinct chapters, which focus on the extermination camps of Treblinka, Chełmno, and Auschwitz, as well as the Warsaw Ghetto, Shoah distances itself from the Holocaust documentary “canon,” as it abstains from the use of archival footage. Juxtaposing the shocking testimonies with modern-day shots from the martyrdom locations, Shoah urges the viewer to get emotionally and mentally entangled with the Holocaust horror, while addressing an always up-to-date warning for the future.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Claude Lanzmann
Cinematography: Dominique Chapuis, Jimmy Glasberg, William Lubchansky
Editing: Ziva Postec
Sound: Bernard Aubouy, Michel Vionnet
Production: Les Films Aleph, Historia Films
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: France
Production Year: 1985
Duration: 566 '
Contact: Why Not Productions
Awards/Distinctions: Caligari Film Award, FIPRESCI Prize, Honorable Mention (OCIC Award) – Berlin IFF 1986, Best Documentary – Rotterdam IFF 1986, Main Award – International Documentary Association 1986, Best Documentary – New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1985, Best Documentary – National Society of Film Critics Awards 1986, Best Documentary – Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 1986, Best Documentary – Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 1986, Special Award – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 1985

Claude Lanzmann


1973 Israel, Why?
1985 Shoah
1994 Tsahal
1999 Visitor from the Living
2001 Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m.
2013 The Last of the Unjust
2017 Napalm