In 1973, Claude Lanzmann started shooting Shoah, a nearly 10-hour film that many regard as the most important ever made about the Holocaust. The Frenchman worked for a full 12 years on the documentary, which was commissioned by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But making Shoah left its mark on Lanzmann. He filmed 200 hours of material in 14 countries, before spending five years editing it. And then there was the infamous confrontation with a former Nazi and his henchmen. The director described his documentary as “a film about death, not about surviving.” He explains in Spectres of the Shoah how it wore him out and almost deprived him of his will to live. Lanzmann experienced the completion of Shoah as a death, and it took a long time for him to recover from it. The now almost 90-year-old filmmaker discusses his warm friendship with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and his teenage years in the French resistance during the Second World War. The film also features unseen material from his magnum opus.
Adam Benzine for Jet Black Iris America, Kimberley Warner for Jet Black Iris Productions UK
Nick Fraser for BBC