Night and Fog

Night and Fog ★★★★★

There's a roundtable video where Michael Haneke, next to his apparent equals Judd Apatow and John Krasinski, tears apart Downfall and Schindler's List as irresponsible. He argues that in applying cinematic narrative language (manipulation, suspense, melodrama) to the Holocaust, the tragedy of it all is reduced into a form of entertainment. The single film on the subject matter he condones is this one, Alain Reisnais' "Night and Fog," which is free of narrative language because it is a documentary, and an especially impartial one at that. The dialectic of images, juxtaposing a colourful present ruin and a monochromatic past atrocity speaks for itself, the narration only serves to link them together, to quietly lament. There were several moments where I instinctively clenched my eyes shut, a reaction which Reisnais does nothing to elicit except to simply show. It's a harrowing statement on how quickly mankind moves on from immeasurable and unspeakable depravity, and how equally easily they are granted a blind eye and are permitted to occur.