Daily Israel Report

'Shoah' Director to be Honored at International Berlin Film Fest

French filmmaker, known for 1985 documentary "Shoah", will be honored with lifetime achievement award at Berlin International Film Festival.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/30/2012, 2:13 AM

French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann
French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann
Flash 90

French filmmaker and producer Claude Lanzmann, known for his 1985 documentary "Shoah", will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Announcing the award, festival director Dieter Kosslick hailed the 87-year-old Paris-born Lanzmann as "one of the great documentarists.”

"With his depictions of inhumanity and violence, of anti-Semitism and its consequences, he created a new kind of cinematic and ethical exploration. We feel honored to honor him," Kosslick said, as reported by AFP.

Lanzmann's most renowned work, the nine-and-a-half hour film "Shoah", includes interviews with Holocaust survivors and footage taken at various death camps. It became famous for transmitting a feeling of inexorability and hopelessness by repeating the sound of the trains going to the camps throughout the film.

Nearly 12 years in the making, the film "vividly call(s) into consciousness the unfathomable horrors of the Nazi genocide," the Berlin film festival said in a statement.

When the film was first screened, the IDF brought large numbers of new recruits to the theater, seeing it as an educational tool.

Lanzmann's other films include the 1973 documentary "Israel, Why" as well as a 2001 film about an uprising in the Sobibor death camp in 1943.

Lanzmann was born in 1925 to Jewish parents, fought in the French resistance and taught at the Free University in Berlin after World War II.

He also played a part in French intellectual life, counting among his circle of friends existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

"His exploration of the Shoah, anti-Semitism and political struggles for freedom infuse both his cinematic and journalistic work," Kosslick added, according to AFP.

The 63rd edition of the Berlin Film Festival takes place from February 7 to 17, with films vying for the coveted Golden Bear award.