These films constitute acts of testimony, paying tribute to the ongoing resilience of the human spirit in the face of the worst crimes ever committed against humanity.
Twelve years in the making, Shoah is Lanzmann’s monumental epic on the Holocaust and features interviews with survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators in 14 countries. This two part documentary does not contain any historical footage but rather features interviews which seek to “reincarnate” the Jewish tragedy and also visits places where the crimes took place. It grew out of Lanzmann’s concern that the genocide perpetrated only 40 years earlier was already retreating into the mists of time, and that atrocity was becoming sanitized as History. His massive achievement – at once epic and intimate, immediate and definitive – is a triumph of form and content that reveals hidden truths while rewriting the rules of documentary filmmaking.
Although Brunhilde Pomsel always described herself as just being a side-line figure and not at all interested in politics, she nevertheless got closer to one of the worst criminals in world history than anyone else presently alive. Today aged 105, Pomsel used to work as secretary, stenographer and typist for the Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Brunhilde Pomsel’s life mirrors the major historical ruptures of the 20th century and German life thereafter. Nowadays, many people presume that the dangers of war and fascism have long been overcome. Brunhilde Pomsel makes it clear that this is certainly not the case.
Isis, Tomorrow follows the destiny of the surviving families of the fighters in the complexity of the post-war period, a post-war time of marginalisation and stigma, in which battle blood leaves room for daily revenge and retaliation, for violence as the only response to violence.
Through Joshua Oppenheimer’s work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.
In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favourite film genres—gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. This is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.
“We were only following orders.” This remarkable film asks why Nazi soldiers agreed to do what they did, exploring how killing became a routine, how these men managed to excuse themselves, how they were manipulated by their leaders. It’s the blueprint of a genocide. We hear the killers’ thoughts as they wrote them down in letters and diaries at the time, and what they said in court years later. RADICAL EVIL is marked by Oscar®-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s scenic transformations and DoP Benedict Neuenfel’s development of a unique visual language.
Told through first-hand accounts of directors, actors, writers, and producers this documentary asks hard questions about the uneasy relationship between American popular culture and the Holocaust.
We find out about the difficulties and responsibility of filmmakers as they re-imagine for the screen the horrors of Nazi Germany and how film itself has the power to shape and reflect history and memory.
More than simply an inquiry into Cambodia’s experience, however, ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE is a profound meditation on the nature of good and evil, shedding light on the capacity of some people to do terrible things and for others to forgive them.
It is also a personal journey into the heart of darkness by journalist/filmmaker Thet Sambath, whose family was wiped out in the Killing Fields, but whose patience and discipline elicits unprecedented on-camera confessions from perpetrators at all levels of the Khmer Rouge hierarchy.
Without truth there can be no justice in Sri Lanka. No Fire Zone is an explicit and horrifying exposé of the final months of the 26-year-long Sri Lankan civil war, told by the people who lived through it. Using unseen footage recorded by both the victims and perpetrators on mobile phones and small cameras, the film meticulously exposes some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity in recent history and becomes direct evidence of a war that was supposed to be conducted in secret.
In 100 nightmarish days more than 800,000 men, women, and children were brutally murdered during the Rwandan genocide. The victims were Tutsi and moderate Hutus who supported them. Canadian General Roméo Dallaire was thrown into a country he barely understood, leading a small contingent of largely ill-equipped troops who did not want to be there. Unsupported by U.N. headquarters, Dallaire and his handful of soldiers were incapable of stopping the killing. This experience led to Dallaire’s own life tragedy as he dealt with the psychological fallout of witnessing a genocide he was powerless to stop.
Weimar Germany was a homosexual Eden in the 1920s: gay and lesbian nightclubs and magazines flourished, the first gay-rights movement was born… and then the Nazis came to power. The persecution of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis is relatively undiscussed. Homosexual victims of the Holocaust were one of the last groups to come forward with their stories.
Using both intimate personal portrayals and a sweeping narrative, PARAGRAPH 175 features elderly homosexual men who vividly describe their experiences during the Nazi era and reveal the long-term consequences of this hidden chapter of history.