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LANZMANN (#HotDocs15 Review)


Written and Directed by Adam Benzine

In 1985, filmmaker Claude Lanzmann released his groundbreaking documentary, SHOAH. The film attempted to depict the Holocaust through the eyes of its Jewish survivors. What it perhaps most monumental about SHOAH is that it is almost ten hours long, and took Lanzmann twelve years to make. In an ironic forty minutes, director Adam Benzine not only delves behind the making of SHOAH, but also behind its director, with his latest film, LANZMANN.

From "Shoah"

From “Shoah”

Benzine interviews Lanzmann on the struggles he had while making SHOAH and on some of the film’s most fascinating scenes. The interviews with Lanzmann are quite interesting, and rarely feel like uninspired commentary. Lanzmann provides insight on some of SHOAH’s most debated scenes, such as the sequence in which he interviews a barber who was responsible for cutting the hair of concentration camp prisoners before they were sent to the gas chamber. At just forty minutes long, Lanzmann seems more suited to be an extra on a DVD, rather than a standalone film. That being said, the insight into is welcome, and fitting seeing as how SHOAH is about to turn thirty years old.


While we do get to learn a lot of information about SHOAH, there is little revealed about Lanzmann himself. Benzine could have used the opportunity to dig deeper into Lanzmann’s character, as there are numerous questions to be asked. The film is a must see for fans of SHOAH, but it will likely be lost on those not familiar with the film.


3 sheep

LANZMANN will have its World Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of the Screen on Screen program, which showcases the power of cinema. It will be preceded by the short film, POSITIVE, directed by Polina Kelm.

Screening Schedule …

Saturday, April 25, 9:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tuesday, April 28, 5:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lighbox

Friday, May 1, 6:30 PM, Innis Town Hall

For more information and for tickets, please visit

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Lanzmann?



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