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German Film Analysis

2185 words - 9 pages

GERM 357Final Essay 1Question 3 Documentary vs Feature FilmCooper Hamaliuk10115784In our history the amount of tragedy that has occurred is greater than any one person could ever imagine. Emerging out of all of this tragedy the holocaust stands alone as the single worst genocide humans have ever done. To truly portray what took place during the holocaust in film is a task that is unachievable through major feature films. The only way to educate people on what took place in camps such as Auschwitz, Belzic and Chelmno, is to interview survivors and to show the real footage that remains. As hard as it is to see these real images and testimonies, this is the only way that people who want to know the truth of the holocaust can get a glimpse of what took place.In an interview with holocaust survivor Elie Weisel she was asked to share her opinion of the holocaust being represented in film, her response was "how is it possible to create a film about the holocaust if even those who were there cannot comprehend?" (Holocaust Cinema, 3) This is a very deep thought in which film makers must take into consideration. These people that survived concentration camps, worried about their lives every day, can't understand the holocaust. To give them the true respect they deserve feature films cannot add special effects and comedy when depicting the holocaust. Documentary films such as "Shoah" and "Night and Fog" treat the holocaust with delicacy and try to get some kind of understanding of it. These films are excellent for educating people about how dehumanized Jewish people became during this time. Both documentaries use very different approaches to dig deep into the holocaust. Claude Lanzmann uses his direct interviews with different people involved in the holocaust to show the different opinions and views that these survivors had in "Shoah". This face to face interaction and the real reactions of the interviewees is something you cannot recreate with actors in a feature film. It gives the audience a much deeper connection and understanding of the terror that these people went through. Most often feature films use stories of what they have heard of the holocaust and in turn depict their interpretations of it. This gives a much different feel than hearing the true stories from the mouth of a survivor. Once we start using our own morality to interpret and display the holocaust it completely changes the message, because the fact is there was nothing moral about what occurred. The second reason it is very hard to display the holocaust in feature films is because of the length. An average feature film runs roughly 100 minutes. If you were to put real educational footage or how horrifying the holocaust was, people would tune out, defeating the purpose. This is why film makers blend comedy or other factors into their films in order to keep an audience involved throughout the movie. Feature films are good for someone who puts entertainment value before educational value....

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