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DVD Review: Night And Fog

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Let me get this out of the way. I am not an anti-Semite. And Night And Fog is not a good documentary, assuming it can even be called a documentary.

I say this because the near universal praise for Alain Resnais’s 1955 black and white, and color, film is ill-founded. Most of it has to do with a) the seeming impolitic nature of criticizing anything that displays Nazi butchery, and b) the fact that the 31-minute long film was the first "real" attempt at categorizing the Nazi horrors of World War Two to the world at large. This was long before canonical terms and figures like "The Holocaust" or "six million" dead Jews were prevalent in pop culture. This film, however, is more agitprop than documentary, from the almost facile way it treats its subject matter, with quick edits to the ponderous, and badly written attempts at poetic narration, voiced by Michel Bouquet.

It would be another few decades before the detailed savagery of the Nazis would get its filmic due, with Marcel Ophüls’ 1972 four-plus hour long The Sorrow And The Pity, Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 nine-plus hour Shoah, and the BBC’s 1974 landmark 26-hour long documentary, The World At War. All three of these films, plus many others, have made Resnais’s film look quaint, to be kind.

That’s not to say that Night And Fog is an outright bad film. It’s not. It’s just not that good, both stylistically, and more so, factually. If the style were brilliant, the mangling of history would not be so bad, and if the reverse were true, the same would apply. But, here, a mere ten years after the war, Resnais makes a definitive claim of nine million dead in the death camps. In the years since, Nazi and Holocaust deniers have denied everything, while Nazi fetishists – is there any other word to call those so obsessed with such degradation? – have claimed thirty million or more. Jews have clung to the canonical Six Million figure, to the exclusion of the millions other dead, and the masses killed by Communist regimes, under the likes of Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Pol Pot, which dwarf even the highest amounts attributed to the Nazis, have been given almost no scrutiny. In recent years, with the release of supposedly classified Nazi archives from Germany, the death tolls have again been claimed higher than the accepted ten to twelve million total, approximately half of which were Jews.

Yet, there is a certain flippancy that one sees with such historically important claims, and, after the seriousness of the Nuremberg Trials, the almost blasé approach of Resnais to this film is a bit unnerving. Of course, stürm and drang is not necessary, merely an incisive look at the reality. That requires no bad poetry and a bit more time. This blame has to fall on writer and minor poet Jean Cayrol, as much as it does Resnais. And yes, they were explicitly making an agitprop film for the French government, which chose to hide its Vichy complicity, as Resnais notes in a radio interview included on the Criterion Collection DVD of the film. There is one still photograph of a Nazi death camp in southern France, where French police can be seen. This was obscured upon the original release but included in the DVD. Yet, if that was done to the film, one can only imagine what other compromises were made, thus effectively nullifying the film’s artistic and historic impact.

If artists and writers in the Soviet bloc countries of the time could figure out ways to outsmart their censors, so should have Resnais. On the positive side, Resnais has claimed he wanted to make the film more than just a look backwards at the Second World War, but a comment on the then current French-Algerian war. Thus he called the death camp inhabitants deportees, not Jews, and used a larger figure for what he believed was the total amount killed (Jews and others) — nine million people.

Of course, the manifest flaws in the film’s structure, some badly synched images and music, and the bad narration, did not deter those of a Leftist bent from praising the film for its statement rather than its art. French film director Francois Truffaut called Night And Fog the greatest film of all time. Well, no. Often, when dealing with war films, or Holocaust films, there is a tendency to trivialize mass murder, by making patriotic excessiveness a virtue, or dripping the story in melodrama. Night And Fog comes down in the middle, yet still misses its mark, because it seems as if Resnais had no real target, despite his claims about the Algerian Resistance.

Yes, we see bodies plowed into holes, stacks of skulls and mounds of human hair, and while that may have shocked years ago, one must be aware that Bela Lugosi’s original turn in 1931’s Dracula, by Tod Browning, was also considered by some to be far too scary for film. Now it’s hokum, and Night And Fog is the documentary equivalent of Dracula. One might argue he’s not to blame, since time and history have swept by his film, but a truly great artist knows that his work will stand up not only upon first peek, but decades later, centuries after that, and as far into the human future as one can envision. This is why the best of Greek tragedies speak to a reader today, and why Night And Fog fails.

And, a final word on the narration, written by Cayrol and voiced by Bouquet. Aside from the pseudo-poetry, there is a condescending tone throughout. Oftentimes, Bouquet chides a viewer for not believing what is being shown (an unwitting invitation to Holocaust deniers in years hence), and then offers platitudes like, "Words are insufficient." Well, not really, not in great art. And while, at 31 minutes, there was obviously no attempt to be comprehensive about the death camps, much less all of World War Two, there is not even an attempt to distill the experience. This lack of focus and air of flippancy make a strange combination for the viewer to chew on, for there is no reflection, no analysis, and what is presented seems almost parodic.

The film’s score is no great shakes either, often being wildly out of touch with the images onscreen. Hanns Eisler plays flute and woodwinds against horrific images, which only further underscores the film’s seeming California surfer dude approach to the subject matter. Music need not be didactic and ponderous, thus recapitulating a terrible image of the dead, but it need not flounce lightly off the carcasses, as well.

Other than the five minute Resnais radio interview, there are only a few essays on the film. As Resnais was still alive at the time of the DVD’s release, one wonders why there are no interviews with him, nor even a commentary. And, as usual, Criterion really flubs it when they use only black and white subtitles, half of which wash out when the white of the black and white segments are shown. All in all, Criterion really shafted the public on this release.

Night And Fog is an interesting curio from the late post-war period. It was made at the height of the early Cold War, and the beginning of the end of Colonialism. While Resnais’s attempt to link the Nazi genocide with Colonialism’s many genocides was ahead of its time, the actual work of art has to stand on its own. It simply fails on all the counts enumerated. Heavy-handedness cannot replace deftness, purples prose cannot replace spare description, and poor scoring cannot replace the sometimes necessity for just an image and quietude. And while poor critical thinkers might believe criticizing a film like Night And Fog is tantamount to blaspheming the memory of the Nazi victims (Jews and others) I would caution those with that view to cogitate on just what such a facile and flippant representation of the dead, by Resnais, says. I claim not anti-Semitism, just not too good art. Unfortunately, these days, even saying that can get you called a Nazi.

Now, what was that saying of Santayana’s about history and doom?

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About Dan Schneider

  • http://www.genericmugwump.com Aaron Fleming

    Well I respect your unwillingness to blindly accept a film merely because it’s universally lauded, because it’s been thoroughly canonised for whatever reason, I nevertheless feel compelled to say that your likening of the film to Dracula is mad. C’mon, how can you compare shots of mounds of emaciated bodies being shoved into trenches with Bela Lugosi running around like some sort of bad vaudeville act?

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Aaron: Here is what I wrote:

    ‘Yes, we see bodies plowed into holes, stacks of skulls and mounds of human hair, and while that may have shocked years ago, one must be aware that Bela Lugosi’s original turn in 1931’s Dracula, by Tod Browning, was also considered by some to be far too scary for film. Now it’s hokum, and Night And Fog is the documentary equivalent of Dracula.’

    The overused images of the Holocaust are being compared with the fright value of the Dracula film, both of which are passe, in light of later WW2 images, and later ‘horror’ techniques.

    So, I did not ‘compare shots of mounds of emaciated bodies being shoved into trenches with Bela Lugosi running around like some sort of bad vaudeville act’. I compared the surpassing shock value of later docs and horror films with each other, and their relation to these two earlier examples of both.

    Got it?

  • http://www.genericmugwump.com Aaron Fleming

    OK OK, it’s an analogy illustrating the waning of affect, fair enough, I do apologise sir.

  • http://blogcritics.org/video Lisa McKay

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States, and Boston.comBoston.com, which will allow even more readers to enjoy it.

  • Lamar Cole

    Love is the beacon that guides a solitary heart out of the fog of loneliness.

  • http://newnarcotics.blogspot.com/ Adam Parker

    I am sorry but I find some of your points just shocking.

    How you can call images such as the many skulls and bodies anything more than completely shocking is beyond me. As a person who has seen his fair share of gore and whatnot in cinema and documentary, the image of a pile of real human heads in a basket was more shocking than anything I have seen in any movie or documentary. Also, there are so many who have only seen very tame images of concentration camps and their prisoners in textbooks and BBC documentaries, that such an image is deploring compared to them.

    And the ‘words are insufficient’ comment is completely justifiable…please tell me one media form, whether it be a film, book, poem, song or news article that fully puts across to the viewer millions of deaths, the torture, the mutilation and all of the other shocking atrocities that took place within just one concentration camp. Who are we to say a piece of art can sum it all up so easily just because it pulls on the heartstrings or has dramatic effect?

    And do you really need an analysis or reflection on the subject? Can you not think for yourself with the images that are presented to you?

    Thank you for replying in advance, and I accept you may not have liked the film, but after recent study on them matter and ethics of holocaust cinema etc, I had to post on here!

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Adam:

    Manifestly you have not watched much cinema or documentaries on war. Great that you are horrified, but that’s an emotional reaction, as is your whole post. How about an intellectually justifiable evaluation?

    ‘Who are we to say a piece of art can sum it all up so easily just because it pulls on the heartstrings or has dramatic effect?’

    I am to say, because I am the critic. That’s what a critic does.

    ‘And do you really need an analysis or reflection on the subject? Can you not think for yourself with the images that are presented to you?’

    Yes, the artist should put forth a point of view, esp. in a film so blatantly manipulative that it’s really not a doc. And the images are nothing new; even then.

    My like or dislike of the film is beside the point, only its artist merit, which is not what many claim.

  • Manger

    This is not a documentary, in your conservative sense of the word. You are obviously unable to appreciate this film, probably because you are obsessed with factuality and accuracy instead of art and thought. Also for your information six million is the number of Jews dead, which is why we “cling” to it. Also, I agree with the comments of Aeron Fleming, in that the Dracula comparison is disgustingly stupid and insensitive. You don’t have to like a film, but I think that mounds of actual human hair, bones, and bodies should have a greater effect on you then a man running around with plastic fangs.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Manger:

    [Personal attack deleted] The comparison is not to Dracula, but its effect as a horror film vs. that to a modern audience. If you cannot even discern a sentence, what makes you think you can a film?

    And, again, like has nothing to do with criticism.

    ‘Also for your information six million is the number of Jews dead, which is why we “cling” to it.’

    Actually not- the number 6 million only came into play nearly 30 years after the fact, as a political weapon. It also has the effect of diminishing the dead others killed by the Nazis, who died in WW2, and in subsequent genocides.

    But, why be sensitive, when it’s all about yourself?

  • Manger

    “Actually not- the number 6 million only came into play nearly 30 years after the fact, as a political weapon.” Okay, for one the number 6 million was first given by Adolf Eichmann in 1944. Eichmann also stated later that “I will go to my grave happy that I murdered six million Jews.” In 1944 the Holocaust was ongoing, it would not end till 1945, so do your research. The figure of six million is an approximation of the number of Jews that died, it is up for debate but most reputable sources confirm that the number is around there. Certain publications, from less educated and qualified individuals, have proclaimed the number to be much lower. These publications have been trumpeted by Nazi-Sympathizers and Holocaust deniers. Jews were the smallest group of those that Hitler targeted but they suffered the largest numbers of deaths in the Holocaust. Approximately 66% of Europe’s Jewish population was killed, we wish to honor the memory of those who died during the Holocaust, many of whom were relations of Jewish families today, that is why we “cling” to this number. There are no illusions in the Jewish community that we were the only ones targeted. Yes other dictators have killed a lot of people, but this film is about the Holocaust, not them.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    [Dan:

    I’m afraid I accidentally deleted your last comment. The Delete button is right next to the Edit button, and unfortunately I hit the wrong one. I attempted to restore it, but to no avail. My apologies.

    ASSISTANT COMMENTS EDITOR

    P.S. Feel free to re-post your comment, but if you do so, please leave out the personal attack. You know the site policy. Thanks.]

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    When someone insinuates that a film review is ant-Semitic, it is the accuser who is doing the attacking.

    The gist was Manger does not understand the political history of the Holocaust. Many leading Nazis- incl. Hitler, tossed out many figures, but the 6 million only became canonical in the 1970s.

    The film is not a good film for all the reasons stated, none of which have been refuted in Manger’s ant-Semitic racebaiting.

    Racebaiting is far worse than calling said racebaiter a moron for such racebaiting; unless Dr. Dreadful, you think racebaiting is a preferred tactic to simply slamming the racebaiter.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “When someone insinuates that a film review is ant-Semitic,”

    where did he do that?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    unless Dr. Dreadful, you think racebaiting is a preferred tactic to simply slamming the racebaiter

    No, I think a preferred tactic is to keep things civil. When you depart from that, you run the risk of falling foul of BC policy.

    There are ways of countering your opponents without calling them names. That’s all.

  • Hauscher

    I believe that you may not understand it or the meaning of the word anti-semitic. You have claimed that you’re not an anti-semite but your poetry speaks for itself. In your poem Free From Want you stated:
    “Fatted for death, they sit and reap, while I ponder which son of Normans, or Vikings, or
    Celts, first gave me name,
    this compound of earth and water- half of that which ancients knew the universe was
    admixed with- this rock- well-
    Who is to know of such things? Centuries from now
    will a descendent of mine still stare back with the features that felled mastodonts?
    Will the nose still jut proudly Roman, matted inside with the good fur to warm each
    breath?
    Will this son of a son of a son distinguish himself from the whims of history?
    Be freed from the clutches of the Jew in his Temple, who passes over his ‘brethren’,
    counting only the numbers
    his simony can bear? I should hurt him if we should meet-
    my blood browned by the African’s lust, or fed on the Chinaman’s savagery, curdled with
    the Semite’s toxins,
    I hope nothing of him remains, nor anything of me linger in his form.”
    This is profoundly anti-semitic, among other things, in itself. In fact this poem is a holocaust justification. Your review is therefore written from a bias viewpoint, which makes the review and your arguments flawed.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    El:

    Comments like ‘You don’t have to like a film, but I think that mounds of actual human hair, bones, and bodies should have a greater effect on you then a man running around with plastic fangs.’ and ‘which is why we “cling” to it’ and the bringing up of ‘Nazi-Sympathizers and Holocaust deniers’ is a tactic that many racebaiters use.

    Since my critique was of the film’s failure as art, and not a political statement, to bring up such asides, and then take a haughty attitude (laced w condescension- you know where), is to take an artistic argument, and politicize it, putting me in the seeming position of denigrating mass deaths- of Jews, implying I am insensitive, and Anti-Semitic.

    It’s rather transparent, but also a de facto cession of the argument over art that Manger had no intellectual leg to stand on.

    And, if you have not engaged in dialectic long enough to know such tactics, that is your fault. But, if the term moron is offensive, I’ll substitute vulgar, cowardly, and dishonest as terms apt to Mangers thrust and parry. Ok?

    Dr: I just did. I attacked Manger’s tactics, and not his uber-sensitive person. If one does not stand up to wrongs- even small sleights as Manger makes, what hope is there to stand up to the really dread evils such a film like the above documents?

    Hauscher: Here is the link.

    And it illustrates your stupidity and utter lack of historical knowledge. The poem’s title is Rockwell on Rockwell. The foyr sub=poems are based upon Norman Rockwell’s The Four Freedoms, and all four are spoken from the American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell’s voice.

    Hello? Do you understand anything about art? Was Shakespeare justifying murder when he wrote from Iago’s POV? You have now proven that the Internet is filled with illiterates and willfully dishonest people.

    A Nazi or Klansman will speak in racist ways. To not have them do so would be ahistorical and dishonest.
    I also have poems from the POV of Mao Zedong and George Custer, yet I don’t espouse their views, either.

    So, now, Dr. Dreadful, you see what happens when you do not stand up to the dishonest detritus that posts on blogs- they will willfully lie and distort what you write.

    This is why spades must be called spades, whether you like it or not. And I’ve just proven that Hauscher has falsely called me an Anti-Semite, but it’s wrong for me to call him an idiot? That’s silly and dishonest.

  • Hauscher

    I’m sorry If I offended you, I obviously misunderstood the poem. I admit I was wrong, please argue with a more intellectual edge, though I admit that might be hard in the face of my spurious accusation.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    As I said, Dan, you can do it without name-calling. As you just demonstrated.

    BTW, as a side-note to the argument – and I realize I could be off the mark here – it does seem a bit silly to accuse someone with the last name Schneider of being anti-Semitic…

  • Hauscher

    I’m sorry If I offended you, I obviously misunderstood the poem. I admit I was wrong, please argue with a more intellectual edge, though I admit that might be hard in the face of my spurious accusation. You’re not an anti-semite and i’m sorry I made such a heavy accusation without doing my research.

    I wrote that accusation in a bit of a rage after finding this poem. It occurs to me now that you do not seem anti-semitic in your writing.

    Now, I disagree with your review on several issues. Jean Cayrol was a French Resistance fighter who was thrown in a concentration camp as a result. I believe that he wouldn’t have wanted to obscure the face of the French officer. The officer’s face would have been very hard to get past censors, so what would you expect?

    I agree with you that the film is not a typical documentary. The use of poetry from a man who had seen the concentration camps, was a more abstract method then the regular documentary style. Night and Fog has stood up for 50 years, so what makes you think it will not continue to? The film deals with a subject that is society’s symbol of human cruelty, a symbolization that may continue for years.

    The number of 6,000,000 is fairly correct, seeing that the number of documented Jews killed sits around 5,750,000 according to Martin Gilbert. Since there were a large number of undocumented deaths 6,000,000 should be pretty close to the actual number dead.

    I read an article of yours about Elie Wiesel, were you called him the weasel and compared him to a vampire. I agree with you that Israel’s treatment of palestine has been just as disgusting as Palestine’s treatment of Israel. It seemed to me as though Elie Wiesel wanted to keep a neutral position on the matter, which he should not be criticized for. Elie has been through a lot and many of the people he went through it with have seen Israel as a safe-haven. Don’t you believe that we can forgive him on this issue, instead of attacking him?

    Sorry about the accusations, I hope you will forgive them.

  • Manger

    Maybe I didn’t make myself clear, the holocaust was the most traumatic occurrence in the lives of those Jews who went through it. Almost all of them lost their families and friends, in addition to this all of them saw sights so disgusting that they would haunt their minds for years. What I am suggesting is that because the holocaust was so disgusting that modern Jews find it hard to forget it. To honor those that died the Jewish people have set up monuments which often reference the number of 6 million dead. As I have said all thorough modern studies seem to confirm that the number was around 6 million. When you say “In the years since, Nazi and Holocaust deniers have denied everything, while Nazi fetishists – is there any other word to call those so obsessed with such degradation? – have claimed thirty million or more. Jews have clung to the canonical Six Million figure, to the exclusion of the millions other dead” I find it misrepresentative of the fact that the Jewish people know that more then just Jews were targeted. Your use of the word “canonical” implies that the Jews think this number is accurate, the reality of the matter is that this number is a result of rounding the number of documented deaths. I have encountered nobody who doesn’t understand this, in the Jewish community. If people have become so desensitized by violence that images of bars made from human fat and piles of hair do not effect them no more then a horror film, which is meant to thrill, then it is no surprise that this film is unappreciated. The films music is meant to build a tension of opposites, not to downplay the holocaust.

    In addition to this you criticize me of not understanding WWII history, if I appear this way it is only because of your own ignorance. For instance speaking of “the seriousness of the Nuremberg Trials” is laughable. The Nuremberg trials were propagandistic shows meant to both further the denazification of the German people and satisfy the allied peoples blood-thirst. The first hypocrisy rose from the fact that the Soviets who had their own history of genocide and just raped most of Eastern Europe. The second hypocrisy was that British defense lawyers were able to get Nazis off, much to their own enrichment. The final issue with the Nuremberg Trials was that they made examples of the heads of Nazi Germany, at the same time that the allies were placing former Nazis in important positions for the rebuilding of West Germany.

    You would do well to use your intellect to argue with me, calling me a moron is just a device to make up for your lack of knowledge. Also if this is simply a movie review, then why include opinions about the Jews and their response to the Holocaust?

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    And if you are oversensitive, that’s your fault.

    I don’t see any politicization in the line “I think that mounds of actual human hair….” He was the third person to take issue with your analogy. If they all didn’t get it, that’s also your fault.

    btw, you are the first person to bring up clinging and Holocaust deniers in your review, so if it doesn’t make you a racebaiter for using them, I don’t see why others can’t use the terms as well.

    I didn’t take issue with the term “moron,” so you might want to tone down your own haughtiness.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Hauscher: At least you’re man enough to admit you’re wrong. I do not get offended, only disgusted when I see folk willfully toss about terms that imply malice on others because of difference- not just of political opinion, but of not understanding art.

    As for the film, my point is that it has been superseded by better and more thorough documentaries, so it becomes a curio out of time, which is why I referenced Dracula- which scared the shit out of audiences in 1931, but is laughably quaint now. What horrified in 1951 is now a report between Ipod commercials on CNN. People yawn. This may not be to anyone’s liking, but it’s true.

    As fpr Wiesel, my dislike of him is that he is a charlatan who has made millions pimping the dead. He is a Nazi fetishist, plus he’s ruined dozens of lives w false accusations of being a Nazi. He’s no hero in my book. Heroism is not based upon suffering- that defines a victim only.

    Manger: ‘As I have said all thorough modern studies seem to confirm that the number was around 6 million. When you say “In the years since, Nazi and Holocaust deniers have denied everything, while Nazi fetishists – is there any other word to call those so obsessed with such degradation? – have claimed thirty million or more. Jews have clung to the canonical Six Million figure, to the exclusion of the millions other dead” I find it misrepresentative of the fact that the Jewish people know that more then just Jews were targeted. Your use of the word “canonical” implies that the Jews think this number is accurate’

    You brought up the Holocaust Deniers, and there are many counterstudies which show that there were barely 6 million Jews in all of Europe in the 1930s. Right or wrong, if the number is, as was tauight in the 60s and 70s, when I went to school, 3.5-5.3 mill, then folk argue, well if they can misplace 700k people, can’t it all be fake?

    And it does happen. Late last year I argued with a blogger who was denying the Turkish genocide of Armenians as political BS, even though it is, after the HOlocaust, the most documented genocide on record. This is why it’s UBER-important to not play numbers games. Unfortunately, 6 million has become canonical, just as 6000 years of suffering have.

    And my family knows the Nazi death camps. My mother’s Lithuanian side saw a dozen die, while her German side fled to Argentina after the war, so I know both sides.

    And the film is not appreciated because it’s simply not good. Great art is not meant for just its time, but all time, and this film clearly fails.

    The seriousness of Nuremberg was in their establishing a line in tthe sand for other generations re: personal culpability- i.e.- you can’t say my superior made me do it. Case in point, the My Lai massacre saw William Calley, and the Abu Ghraib asses, held accountable. Just because it was a show trial, as are all war crimes trials (think Truman would not have been brought up on war crimes had we lost to Japan?), does not mean it did not establish human rights precedents.

    And here is what you typed, earlier: ‘Jews were the smallest group of those that Hitler targeted but they suffered the largest numbers of deaths in the Holocaust.’

    This is demonstrably false, as the Gypsies, who lost 1.1 of approx. 1.5-2 million, and homosexuals, who lost several hundred thousand of X number were both smaller groups, and the former had a far higher loss of total population. So it’s hard to take your claims of historical acumen seriously when you hyperbolize so deeply with an emotional outburst that has no truth.

    ‘You would do well to use your intellect to argue with me, calling me a moron is just a device to make up for your lack of knowledge. Also if this is simply a movie review, then why include opinions about the Jews and their response to the Holocaust?’

    The answer to the former is because you, as demonstrated, made no intellectual argument about the art of the film, and insinuated bigotry where there was none. You acted disgustingly and unmanly. I called your spade black. As to the latter, only you, in a simplistic mindset, would look at the essay above, and call it a ‘movie review,’ simply.

    El: The human hair was not an analogy, but a description, and I brought up the Holocaust Deniers for the reasons stated. I did not insinuate any of the former commenters were ones, or Anti-Semites. Manger and Hauscher did, and only one has seen the light. That you don’t see this is not surprising. BTW- are you awake, or are you a somnotypist?

  • Manger

    If it is not simply a movie review then why would you write “Since my critique was of the film’s failure as art, and not a political statement”?

    I don’t think you’re an anti-semite, I just think that you’re not conscientious in your writing. I wish to point out these flaws to you. Also I wish to point out to you that I have never stated my gender, so why assume that I am a man? The misogynistic idea of manliness as being brave and strong, only strengthens my conviction that you’re thoughtless. I have confronted you on these issues, without using tactics such as name calling, a far more cowardly approach then speaking my mind. Census data has shown that there were more jews then 6,000,000 in Europe, if there is a study which uses factual evidence to argue a counterpoint, link it.

    The Nuremberg trials were not unimportant, they were just flawed on many levels. The Soviet Union killed many people and forced many to work in Siberia. This went against the very principals the Nuremberg trials were trying to establish. Does the fact that Stalin was an ally make his or his soldiers actions alright?

    Just because it established Human Rights doesn’t mean Human Rights have ever stopped a government from doing what it wants.

    When have people yawned at images of human fat being boiled into soap?

    Yes you have a point about the gypsies and homosexuals, I neglected to think about them.

    The Japanese committed atrocities almost as great as the Germans, because the U.S. was interested in the data from their experiments they were never tried. The Nuremberg trials & the Holocaust have had no affect on people because they chose to ignore it. Why criticize the Jews for remembering?

    It is hard to imagine how a documentary could stand the test of time, if you hope for it to be factually accurate for all of time, not just the time it was made.

    Whatever you hold against Elie Wiesel don’t make things up or make spurious accusations. “Pimping the dead”? read his works. Do you accuse him of using the death of his parents to make money? A “fetishist”? Should the world forget the Holocaust or not hear the experiences of those who went through it? Why shouldn’t he charge people for his lectures, he is old and has published quite a few books which offer as much as any lecture. Can a Holocaust survivor not make money in the same way that anyone else does? Should he in his old age not live comfortably? He does seem to view Israel as being exempt from international law, which is hypocritical but how has he ruined lives? What dozens has Elie accused? Where did you read that? Thats the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. He has done a lot of good for the world, a fact which you have overlooked.

    I “acted disgustingly”, in what way? Are you so arrogant as to believe that someone who challenges you is committing an atrocity?

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Manger: ‘If it is not simply a movie review then why would you write “Since my critique was of the film’s failure as art, and not a political statement”?’

    So, you admit you are a binary thinker- one can only be A or B, and the other 24 letters of the alphabet be damned.

    ‘I don’t think you’re an anti-semite, I just think that you’re not conscientious in your writing. I wish to point out these flaws to you. Also I wish to point out to you that I have never stated my gender, so why assume that I am a man? The misogynistic idea of manliness as being brave and strong, only strengthens my conviction that you’re thoughtless. I have confronted you on these issues, without using tactics such as name calling, a far more cowardly approach then speaking my mind. Census data has shown that there were more jews then 6,000,000 in Europe, if there is a study which uses factual evidence to argue a counterpoint, link it.’

    Your opinion of me is beside the point, but your insinuations of it, via poor dialectic or assumption is. As far as conscientious, as demonstrated, I have a far better grasp on the Holocaust history than you do. As for your sex, unmanly is a negative whether applied to a male or female. Again, the binary trap. And manly meaning brave and strong is YOUR interpretation. I meant it as mature and honest. Now you are assuming, as you have thru this whole thread.
    You did namecall, only did it using a pseudonym, and did it by insinuation. I called you on your tactics, and used my real name. Next.
    There are plenty of census studies showing wildly varying #s of Jews in Europe, and almost all of them are politicized to either indict Hitler (or Stalin, who killed as many or more Jews, albeit over a longer period of time) or lessen his crimes. The fact is that census taking, before the 1950s, in the West, even the US, was scattershot, to say the least. This is why today there is so much nonsense about how kids were smarter 60 years ago, because censuses taken then left out tons of children in poor areas and minority groups.

    ‘The Nuremberg trials were not unimportant, they were just flawed on many levels. The Soviet Union killed many people and forced many to work in Siberia. This went against the very principals the Nuremberg trials were trying to establish. Does the fact that Stalin was an ally make his or his soldiers actions alright?
    Just because it established Human Rights doesn’t mean Human Rights have ever stopped a government from doing what it wants.’

    No disagreement, but I’m still waiting for any critique of my critique of the art, or a defense thereof. Again, you are insecurely arguing a political agenda because you subscribe to it. I detachedly watched a documentary and found it severely wanting. What don’t you get about that, and what is so missing from your life that you need to argue with a stranger over it, to try to show that you’re a good human being? I don’t care one way or the other if you’re a saint or a bastard. To me you’re just another voice of ignorance in the din of the world.

    ‘When have people yawned at images of human fat being boiled into soap?
    Yes you have a point about the gypsies and homosexuals, I neglected to think about them.’

    Many Jews, even, have tired of the eternal victim act. Read some of the essays by Philip Lopate- he has written extensively on what he calls Holocaust, Inc.- and he’s a Jew. And Gypsies and homosexuals are not all you’ve neglected.

    ‘The Japanese committed atrocities almost as great as the Germans, because the U.S. was interested in the data from their experiments they were never tried. The Nuremberg trials & the Holocaust have had no affect on people because they chose to ignore it. Why criticize the Jews for remembering?’

    Actually, Nazi emissaries reportedly were horrified at the Japanese experiments on the Chinese, and the main reason the Japs were not tried was because they, unlike the Nazis, burnt most of the evidence, whereas the Nazis admitted to much w pride. I don’t criticize anyone for recalling a bad past, but fetishizing it and using it as a weapon to demonize others, or extort things out of guilt, is wrong. W/o the Holocaust, do you think Israel wd have the backing of so many Western nations? It wd have gone the way of apartheid era S. Africa. Jimmy Carter is absolutely right in that regard. Grante, they are the most democratic nation in the MidEast, but they are not a true democracy, anymore than the US was in 1850.

    I don’t care for the film to be 100% accurate, but it should enthrall and educate. Time has been harsh to this film, and time is the ultimate leveler.

    ‘Whatever you hold against Elie Wiesel don’t make things up or make spurious accusations. “Pimping the dead”? read his works.’

    I have, and the description is accurate. He is, as Lopate calls him, the CEO of Holocaust, Inc., along w the dead Simon Wiesenthal.

    ‘Do you accuse him of using the death of his parents to make money?’

    He has pimped his whole life, parents included.

    A “fetishist”? Should the world forget the Holocaust or not hear the experiences of those who went through it?’

    Answered above. Forgetting and exploiting are diff things.

    ‘Why shouldn’t he charge people for his lectures, he is old and has published quite a few books which offer as much as any lecture. Can a Holocaust survivor not make money in the same way that anyone else does?’

    Yes, but they should not feed off the bodies of the dead. That is disgusting.

    ‘Should he in his old age not live comfortably?’

    Sure, if he earned his profits in a decent way.

    ‘He does seem to view Israel as being exempt from international law, which is hypocritical but how has he ruined lives? What dozens has Elie accused? Where did you read that? Thats the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. He has done a lot of good for the world, a fact which you have overlooked.’

    John Demjanjuk, among many falsely accused Nazis whose lives have been ruined. You seem the typical young’un who shoots his/her mouth off w/o all of the facts. Read up first.

    ‘I “acted disgustingly”, in what way? Are you so arrogant as to believe that someone who challenges you is committing an atrocity?’

    Someone who falsely accuses another of bigotry, and in a backhanded way, is acting, by reasonable standards, disgustingly.

  • richard

    Dan: “I detachedly watched a documentary and found it severely wanting.”

    “As for the film, my point is that it has been superseded by better and more thorough documentaries, so it becomes a curio out of time, which is why I referenced Dracula- which scared the shit out of audiences in 1931, but is laughably quaint now. What horrified in 1951 is now a report between Ipod commercials on CNN. People yawn. This may not be to anyone’s liking, but it’s true.”

    How can you claim detachment while judging a film from a decidedly modern perspective? I don’t think that art should constantly compete with the future, something that you seem to imply. Standing it in the path of future documentaries on the Holocaust is an ineffective and unsatisfying way of trivializing this particular work. If you are to criticize this film, it should be done on it’s own qualities. Granted, you do scrounge around in this film enough, but it doesn’t make your point any less inconsequential.

    Dracula definitely seems old fashioned from a perspective like yours: viewing great art as immortal. The problem with this view is the subjectivity with which you can apply it. These “Greek tragedies” can be seen in just as antiquated a light as something like Dracula or Night and Fog. It’s all about how willing one is to retrogress – a process which is more than reasonable given the ever-moving progress of culture (in which art and language are of course helplessly confined).

    Finally, anticipating your ever-constant air of patronization: I do realize – in reading your review and subsequent posts – that you are probably much smarter than me. I’d appreciate it if you don’t connote as such should you choose to respond.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Richard: ‘Finally, anticipating your ever-constant air of patronization: I do realize – in reading your review and subsequent posts – that you are probably much smarter than me. I’d appreciate it if you don’t connote as such should you choose to respond.’

    Nice attempt at trying to have your cake and eat it, too, but stand behind your point. And patronization is when there is a reasonable and good faith argument and one party tries to belittle another. Most of the other commenters have not argued in good faith; and their stupidity is open for dismemberment. As to your point:

    ‘How can you claim detachment while judging a film from a decidedly modern perspective?’

    Emotional detachment knows no chronology. People read Shakespeare over Dryden today because Willy’s stuff held up. No one cares of the courtly intrigues of long forgotten despots.

    ‘I don’t think that art should constantly compete with the future, something that you seem to imply.’

    Where? I think you are imbuing for you are starting w a predisposition.

    ‘Standing it in the path of future documentaries on the Holocaust is an ineffective and unsatisfying way of trivializing this particular work. If you are to criticize this film, it should be done on it’s own qualities. Granted, you do scrounge around in this film enough, but it doesn’t make your point any less inconsequential.’

    A classic emotional response. On the one hand you admit I crit the film on its own qualities, but you are dissatisfied. If the review were more positive I doubt I’d be typing a reply right now. That wd seem to make your point inconsequential, as well as silly.

    ‘Dracula definitely seems old fashioned from a perspective like yours: viewing great art as immortal. The problem with this view is the subjectivity with which you can apply it.’

    Which is why I objectively look at art, and disavow emotion. There is bad art I like and great art I do not like, but my likes are irrelevant to an objective and fair critique.

    ‘These “Greek tragedies” can be seen in just as antiquated a light as something like Dracula or Night and Fog.’

    They can, if they lack an eternal or universal quality. If they have it your point is moot. That was my point.

    ‘It’s all about how willing one is to retrogress – a process which is more than reasonable given the ever-moving progress of culture (in which art and language are of course helplessly confined).’

    The viewer/critic/percipient has no obligation to engage an artwork. There are some works which can yield greater reward if engaged more deeply, but if the work lacks a deeper or more substantive appeal the percipient has no obligation. The artist has an obligation to try to communicate- art is communication, but the responsibility is his alone. The whole ‘it’s art because the artist says so’ ideal is silly, just as the idea that art has to be judged by the standards of its creation, alone.

    Here is a list of great films I made, and I distinguish between great works and genre great works, like silent films. Silent films simply cannot be as totally great as sound and color films, for many reasons, but in their limited circumstances, they can achieve a limited greatness. A few- like City Lights, transcend their limits.

  • FATRABBIT

    “Yes, we see bodies plowed into holes, stacks of skulls and mounds of human hair, and while that may have shocked years ago, one must be aware that Bela Lugosi’s original turn in 1931’s Dracula, by Tod Browning, was also considered by some to be far too scary for film. Now it’s hokum, and Night And Fog is the documentary equivalent of Dracula.”

    I hope the above (ahem) observation may be blamed on stimulants trumping reflection, as its bizarre and frankly vulgar claims undercut the far more serious and noteworthy arguments you address.

    Basing your comparison of the material N+F uses to illustrate the end product of the Holocaust (whether that term embraces Jews alone or includes other victims of the nazis’ genocide machine) to the imagery of a horror movie, whenever made, is unbelievably thoughtless and ill-informed. There is simply no comparison between the outer limits of films made to entertain an audience (name dropping, say, ‘In a Glass Cage’ or the Guinea Pig series) and hundreds of emaciated corpses bulldozed into a ditch. One is fake, the other is real, full stop. While perhaps children can’t discern the difference, and thus the consequences, we aren’t them anymore, right?

    Nonetheless, you come quite close to saying modern audiences require more than just simple tapes of corpse disposal, like maybe video records of mengele’s twin experiments, to give a fuck about what happened/s. If it’s true that you require such imagery before including N+S in the canon of ‘Holokaust Klassiks,’ please don’t indict the rest of us. And please don’t hide your justifiable anger against Israel/Zionism/etc. behind a condemnation of an early documentary whose primary and inestimable worth is the terrible clarity with which it made the world aware of what happened. It’s this evident worth and this barely displaced anger that make your other critiques of N+S (the translated narration can’t encompass what appears? the score is out of place? the color of the subtitles are poorly chosen?) ring so hollow that your garish and, dare I say, disgusting idea peals out all the louder.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Fat:

    ‘I hope the above (ahem) observation may be blamed on stimulants trumping reflection, as its bizarre and frankly vulgar claims undercut the far more serious and noteworthy arguments you address.’

    The observation is neither bizarre nor vulgar, but your observation is flatout silly, and pointless.

    ‘Basing your comparison of the material N+F uses to illustrate the end product of the Holocaust (whether that term embraces Jews alone or includes other victims of the nazis’ genocide machine) to the imagery of a horror movie, whenever made, is unbelievably thoughtless and ill-informed.’

    No it’s not, because the comparison is to the outmoded shock effect the documentary has in relation to the outmoded scare effect of the other film. It’s a rather good and effective comparison.

    ‘There is simply no comparison between the outer limits of films made to entertain an audience (name dropping, say, ‘In a Glass Cage’ or the Guinea Pig series) and hundreds of emaciated corpses bulldozed into a ditch. One is fake, the other is real, full stop. While perhaps children can’t discern the difference, and thus the consequences, we aren’t them anymore, right?’

    But adults can understand the concept of metaphor. Google the term- it’s when you use one things as basis of comparison to another. But, if that gets in the way of your smarmy moralizing and haughtiness, heaven forfend! Your claim of ‘simply no comparison is thus a revelation of your own limited mindset. And whose problem and fault is that?

    ‘Nonetheless, you come quite close to saying modern audiences require more than just simple tapes of corpse disposal, like maybe video records of mengele’s twin experiments, to give a fuck about what happened/s. If it’s true that you require such imagery before including N+S in the canon of ‘Holokaust Klassiks,’ please don’t indict the rest of us.’

    You said it, not me. A discerning audience needs more than just the same old same old. There is nothing revelatory in the film- from the images to the disproved stats. In short, any art worth a damn needs more than just shock value; and that’s all Night & Fog offered. 5 decades later it’s nil. This is why gimmick art always fails, because it does not hold up to multiple experiences. As the old slogan might entail- there’s no beef in this film.

    ‘And please don’t hide your justifiable anger against Israel/Zionism/etc. behind a condemnation of an early documentary whose primary and inestimable worth is the terrible clarity with which it made the world aware of what happened.’

    Again, you are imbuing your own addled ideas with what I wrote. I don’t give a damn of Zionism, and do not condemn it in the review. In short, nice straw man. Hug it closely tonight. And, as the film came out a decade after the war, and years after Nuremberg, ’twas nothing new to begin with.

    ‘It’s this evident worth and this barely displaced anger that make your other critiques of N+S (the translated narration can’t encompass what appears? the score is out of place? the color of the subtitles are poorly chosen?) ring so hollow that your garish and, dare I say, disgusting idea peals out all the louder.’

    Again, your own bile has so twisted your mind one could make a strudel out of it.

    So, was there a point to your post, save to scream your anonymous ignorance to the world?

  • FATRABBIT

    “The observation is neither bizarre nor vulgar, but your observation is flatout silly, and pointless.”

    Er…well, the meat is on the way, I’m sure of it. Though you may be technically right about ‘silly’ and ‘pointless’ – on review I’m pretty sure ‘bizarre’ and ‘vulgar’ are antonyms.

    “No it’s not, because the comparison is to the outmoded shock effect the documentary has in relation to the outmoded scare effect of the other film. It’s a rather good and effective comparison.”

    I had to break this down a bit more for the sake of my handicap. All errors mine:
    (1) The scariness of a horror movie is concomitant with its present day worth. 1931’s Dracula had scary imagery, but it doesn’t scare today’s audiences. Thus, 1931’s Dracula is almost totally worthless today.
    (2) The shock effect created by a Holocaust documentary is a major factor as to its present day worth. 1955’s Night And Fog had imagery that created a shock effect, but such [imagery doesn’t shock/imagery’s shock effect is outmoded for] today’s audiences. Thus, on the basis of shocking imagery, 1955’s Night And Fog is almost totally worthless today.

    So as I understand it, you say Night And Fog isn’t worth much today because its shock effect, as created by bulldozed corpse etc., is old hat to today’s iron youth? If that’s the case, then I think we agree now, as we did initially, as to the point at hand.
    But maybe what you’re also saying, very indirectly, is that the film’s relevancy is doomed not only by its lack of shocking imagery, but also with its unrealized pretensions. If so, maybe you should make your point explicit before making me carry the water.

    “But adults can understand the concept of metaphor. Google the term- it’s when you use one things as basis of comparison to another. But, if that gets in the way of your smarmy moralizing and haughtiness, heaven forfend! Your claim of ‘simply no comparison is thus a revelation of your own limited mindset. And whose problem and fault is that?”

    I assume, to the extent you address anything of substance here, you’re saying (note upcoming use of ‘as,’ making this a simile, not a metaphor – Thanks Wikipedia!) as Tod needs more gore-drenched-titties to possibly uphold any interest, so Night And Fog needs more and better pleading, screaming, dying subhumans to rate more than a twitch of the ol’ death nerve. I still say you’re wrong. In fact, I’m so set in my ways I’m still willing to say (as I did initially) that horrific imagery capable of sickening and terrorizing even today’s jaded horror movie audiences is ZERO next to real death and suffering.

    “You said it, not me. A discerning audience needs more than just the same old same old. There is nothing revelatory in the film- from the images to the disproved stats. In short, any art worth a damn needs more than just shock value; and that’s all Night & Fog offered. 5 decades later it’s nil. This is why gimmick art always fails, because it does not hold up to multiple experiences. As the old slogan might entail- there’s no beef in this film.”

    OK then. Let’s unpack together. As a discerning modern consumer, you need beef. In fact, you need revelatory beef. Beef is revelatory, if, for one thing, it holds up to multiple experiences. Multiple experiences are possible if the beef is based on the proper material. Proper material arises from perpetually relevant ideas and aesthetics. If material arises from ideas and aesthetics that are supposed to be shocking but aren’t, then the material is de facto irrelevant. Since N+F’s value is predicated on material that’s not shocking, N+F isn’t relevant, so it can’t hold up to multiple experiences, thus it’s false beef.
    Whew. Anyway, you appear to conclude (admittedly, from my extrapolations) that ‘shock’ is not a valid basis for permanence. Then again, part of your acknowledgement that the medical torture of children may be an acceptable replacement for deathpiles is that at least such footage is “more than just the same old same old.” From your comment, am I wrong to infer that if material is so shocking it can prize open even your distended asshole a bit further than normal, such material may be revelatory? Then you and I are in complete agreement!
    Unfortunately we’re then back to our initial disagreement, that is, the length and girth necessary to induce revelation. I say N+F delivers the goods – you don’t. Too bad you’re on record that N+F is poorly made, otherwise you could maybe back out of committing to the artistic achievements arising from ‘Night and Fog 2010’s’ high-definition surround-sound atrocities.

    “Again, you are imbuing your own addled ideas with what I wrote. I don’t give a damn of Zionism, and do not condemn it in the review. In short, nice straw man. Hug it closely tonight. And, as the film came out a decade after the war, and years after Nuremberg, ’twas nothing new to begin with.”

    Yeah I was wrong about that claim’s textual support. In retrospect, your ire appears to arise from the offense you take towards the exploitation of the Holocaust, a sentiment I share. You were wrong about N+F being nothing new, though – while the existence of the nazi genocide was widely known in 1955, N+F is the first time visual records were made widely available.

    Again, your own bile has so twisted your mind one could make a strudel out of it.

    I wish that were true, but thanks anyway.

    So, was there a point to your post, save to scream your anonymous ignorance to the world?

    We have many areas of overlap. The conviction that public masturbation is better is one.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    “The observation is neither bizarre nor vulgar, but your observation is flatout silly, and pointless.”

    Er…well, the meat is on the way, I’m sure of it. Though you may be technically right about ‘silly’ and ‘pointless’ – on review I’m pretty sure ‘bizarre’ and ‘vulgar’ are antonyms.

    Still no point, but since you are arguing with yourself, do you sell popcorn?

    “No it’s not, because the comparison is to the outmoded shock effect the documentary has in relation to the outmoded scare effect of the other film. It’s a rather good and effective comparison.”

    I had to break this down a bit more for the sake of my handicap. All errors mine:
    (1) The scariness of a horror movie is concomitant with its present day worth. 1931’s Dracula had scary imagery, but it doesn’t scare today’s audiences. Thus, 1931’s Dracula is almost totally worthless today.
    (2) The shock effect created by a Holocaust documentary is a major factor as to its present day worth. 1955’s Night And Fog had imagery that created a shock effect, but such [imagery doesn’t shock/imagery’s shock effect is outmoded for] today’s audiences. Thus, on the basis of shocking imagery, 1955’s Night And Fog is almost totally worthless today.

    So as I understand it, you say Night And Fog isn’t worth much today because its shock effect, as created by bulldozed corpse etc., is old hat to today’s iron youth? If that’s the case, then I think we agree now, as we did initially, as to the point at hand.

    That was one of many points why the film fails. Bad narrative poesy, anomic aims, and factual inaccuracy are other major factors.

    But maybe what you’re also saying, very indirectly, is that the film’s relevancy is doomed not only by its lack of shocking imagery, but also with its unrealized pretensions. If so, maybe you should make your point explicit before making me carry the water.

    The pretensions are realized lest they would not be able to be pointed out. Their lack of realization would have garnered no comment- even by you.

    “But adults can understand the concept of metaphor. Google the term- it’s when you use one things as basis of comparison to another. But, if that gets in the way of your smarmy moralizing and haughtiness, heaven forfend! Your claim of ‘simply no comparison is thus a revelation of your own limited mindset. And whose problem and fault is that?”

    I assume, to the extent you address anything of substance here, you’re saying (note upcoming use of ‘as,’ making this a simile, not a metaphor – Thanks Wikipedia!) as Tod needs more gore-drenched-titties to possibly uphold any interest, so Night And Fog needs more and better pleading, screaming, dying subhumans to rate more than a twitch of the ol’ death nerve. I still say you’re wrong. In fact, I’m so set in my ways I’m still willing to say (as I did initially) that horrific imagery capable of sickening and terrorizing even today’s jaded horror movie audiences is ZERO next to real death and suffering.

    Well, yes, and as someone whose seen numerous people killed and murdered, this is manifest, but it’s an utter digression from your unsupported ‘simply no comparison’ moralizing. Again, is there a point?

    “You said it, not me. A discerning audience needs more than just the same old same old. There is nothing revelatory in the film- from the images to the disproved stats. In short, any art worth a damn needs more than just shock value; and that’s all Night & Fog offered. 5 decades later it’s nil. This is why gimmick art always fails, because it does not hold up to multiple experiences. As the old slogan might entail- there’s no beef in this film.”

    OK then. Let’s unpack together. As a discerning modern consumer, you need beef. In fact, you need revelatory beef. Beef is revelatory, if, for one thing, it holds up to multiple experiences. Multiple experiences are possible if the beef is based on the proper material.

    Proper? Quality and depth are specific things- proper- again, you fall into moralizing terminology with stunning ease.

    Proper material arises from perpetually relevant ideas and aesthetics.

    Perhaps proper material, but not quality, but, since you are arguing points that you’ve made, go on. Aesthetics are based upon emotional responses, and emotion has no place in criticism.

    If material arises from ideas and aesthetics that are supposed to be shocking but aren’t, then the material is de facto irrelevant. Since N+F’s value is predicated on material that’s not shocking, N+F isn’t relevant, so it can’t hold up to multiple experiences, thus it’s false beef.

    Well, since just a few points ago I delineated multiple areas in which the film failed, as I did in the piece, again, you are arguing with your own claims- i.e.- strawmanning. Still waiting for the point. Oh wait, here is Godot, Point was delayed.

    Whew. Anyway, you appear to conclude (admittedly, from my extrapolations) that ‘shock’ is not a valid basis for permanence. Then again, part of your acknowledgement that the medical torture of children may be an acceptable replacement for deathpiles is that at least such footage is “more than just the same old same old.”

    Well, I never said this; but, there are plenty of doc’s that have shown the torture of children and animals- see PETA or Human Rights Groups who seem to think that drumming people over the head with- say, circumcised labia or machinery mashing little chicks, is somehow more compelling than simply reasoned argument. Wait, here is point, waving on the horizon.

    From your comment, am I wrong to infer that if material is so shocking it can prize open even your distended asshole a bit further than normal, such material may be revelatory? Then you and I are in complete agreement!

    Let’s assume you mean prise, not prize, since, if you are going to argue with yourself, good grammar is acceptable. But, no- I said none of that. Shock and revelation have no formal connection, but, perhaps in your wee mind they do. Point says Cabo was wonderful.

    Unfortunately we’re then back to our initial disagreement, that is, the length and girth necessary to induce revelation. I say N+F delivers the goods – you don’t. Too bad you’re on record that N+F is poorly made, otherwise you could maybe back out of committing to the artistic achievements arising from ‘Night and Fog 2010’s’ high-definition surround-sound atrocities.

    Point says, ‘Whodat?’

    “Again, you are imbuing your own addled ideas with what I wrote. I don’t give a damn of Zionism, and do not condemn it in the review. In short, nice straw man. Hug it closely tonight. And, as the film came out a decade after the war, and years after Nuremberg, ’twas nothing new to begin with.”

    Yeah I was wrong about that claim’s textual support. In retrospect, your ire appears to arise from the offense you take towards the exploitation of the Holocaust, a sentiment I share.

    There was no ire, only boredom. It’s interesting how so many passive-aggressive folks imbue anger or its kith into others’ reactions. ‘Twas dull- an ill wrought, passe, and dull film.

    You were wrong about N+F being nothing new, though – while the existence of the nazi genocide was widely known in 1955, N+F is the first time visual records were made widely available.

    Except for extensive coverage in newsreel footage from the post-War period…whoops.

    Again, your own bile has so twisted your mind one could make a strudel out of it.

    I wish that were true, but thanks anyway.

    So, was there a point to your post, save to scream your anonymous ignorance to the world?

    We have many areas of overlap. The conviction that public masturbation is better is one.

    So, that sticky goo explains the typos. Point turns to Homer. Homer says, ‘D’oh!’

  • CCB

    Dan,

    As I read through these comments, I find the most amazing part is your refusal to acknowledge anyone else’s opinion as, if not valid, worthy of respect. You vehemently disagree with every response made to your article, as well as the subsequent reactions to your commentary. If you ever acquiesed or gave a single nod to a comment that countered yours, I missed it. (If I did miss it, I apologize for the assumption, yet the fact that there were too few to notice illustrates my point nonetheless.) Failing to recognize the value of others’ opinions, in and of itself, puts everything you say into question. When one cannot see past his or her own viewpoint enough to recognize reasonable arguments or even simply that other viewpoints are no less worthy of being considered as his or her own, that person demonstrates a lack of intelligence and open-mindedness.

    Dispute facts or assumptions all you want; however, don’t disrespect or discount diverging viewpoints simply because they are, in fact, divergent. You present yourself as idiotic when you do.

    Another thought to consider is your continued insistance that your review is of the artistic value of the piece alone; still you continue to argue the political and/or factual opinions offered. I would think, if you wanted to remain focused on the art, you would eschew such commentary and return the focus back to the cinematic elements. I recognize that, at times, you attempted to do such a thing, like in your continued defense of comparing Night and Fog to Dracula. However, much of the time you focused on the political, historical, etc. (At this point, please forgive me as I digress a bit. In regards to your assertion that the film loses artistic value simply because its images no longer shock at the level in which they were intended, I must counter that something can remain artistically valuable despite the way time alters the anticipated effect on an audience. Case in point: the original Psycho; you cannot begin to argue that this film does not remain significant within the cinematic community for its brilliance despite the fact that the suspense of modern films have lessened its impact on the psyche when watching it. Disagree? What about 2001: A Space Odyssey? or Blade Runner? or so many more? Please don’t begin to argue that these are fictional films and not documentaries, making them different. You are claiming that art is the focus, and art transcends genre.)

    To conclude, the defensive nature of your comments creates the sense in a reader that you lack a solid basis for your argument. It’s sad, really, because I enjoy hearing people whose opinions differ greatly from mine. Your rhetoric, however, is anything but enjoyable.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    CCB:

    Dan,

    As I read through these comments, I find the most amazing part is your refusal to acknowledge anyone else’s opinion as, if not valid, worthy of respect.

    To do so, the opinion would have to be free of emotion, and show the person offered something of value. I have debunked opinions, as one does in dialectic. The respect comes in answering the opinions at all, and in detail, and in showing they were wrong. Respect is not, ‘Oh wow, that opinion, even though you’re the 37, 356th person to parrot it, now it all makes sense.’

    You vehemently disagree with every response made to your article, as well as the subsequent reactions to your commentary. If you ever acquiesed or gave a single nod to a comment that countered yours, I missed it. (If I did miss it, I apologize for the assumption, yet the fact that there were too few to notice illustrates my point nonetheless.) Failing to recognize the value of others’ opinions, in and of itself, puts everything you say into question.

    To the last question, says you. It’s not some logically foregone conclusion. Nut, even were it, again, I value the claims with my responses. What is more demeaning than total ignorance of one’s existence?

    When one cannot see past his or her own viewpoint enough to recognize reasonable arguments or even simply that other viewpoints are no less worthy of being considered as his or her own, that person demonstrates a lack of intelligence and open-mindedness.

    Manifestly, I have seen past my POV, or else I would not have bothered to reply, but, since most of the arguments are based on emotions or faulty reasoning, they are NOT worthy. The very ability to discriminate (in the good sense of the term) between stupidity and intelligence shows intelligence, and the willingness to reply to it (even when barraged by it, as here) amply demonstrates open-mindedness. I am, however, waiting for an intelligent point to this latest emotional outburst.

    Dispute facts or assumptions all you want; however, don’t disrespect or discount diverging viewpoints simply because they are, in fact, divergent. You present yourself as idiotic when you do.

    Look at how many times you have tossed about epithets w/o making a single claim about the film. Manifestly, you’ve not even bothered to weigh my opinions. Idiot, therefore, more aptly describes what yuo are presented with in reflection.

    Another thought to consider is your continued insistance that your review is of the artistic value of the piece alone; still you continue to argue the political and/or factual opinions offered. I would think, if you wanted to remain focused on the art, you would eschew such commentary and return the focus back to the cinematic elements. I recognize that, at times, you attempted to do such a thing, like in your continued defense of comparing Night and Fog to Dracula. However, much of the time you focused on the political, historical, etc.

    Did it ever occur to you that I addressed the political aspects of the film- even by stating I am not anti-Semitic up front, because there is a history, on film blogs, and such, for this very sort of tautological and puerile dialectic that you and the others are engaging in? It wd be like writing of the Great Dictator and not commenting on the political content of the final speech vs. its place in the film and the times.

    (At this point, please forgive me as I digress a bit. In regards to your assertion that the film loses artistic value simply because its images no longer shock at the level in which they were intended, I must counter that something can remain artistically valuable despite the way time alters the anticipated effect on an audience. Case in point: the original Psycho; you cannot begin to argue that this film does not remain significant within the cinematic community for its brilliance despite the fact that the suspense of modern films have lessened its impact on the psyche when watching it. Disagree? What about 2001: A Space Odyssey? or Blade Runner? or so many more? Please don’t begin to argue that these are fictional films and not documentaries, making them different. You are claiming that art is the focus, and art transcends genre.)

    Now you are strawmanning. I argued and wrote of this film. Psycho’s shock value has nothing to do w its quality. So, here I am responding to claims you made, not I. That qualifies as open-minded in any reasonable definition of the word.

    To conclude, the defensive nature of your comments creates the sense in a reader that you lack a solid basis for your argument.

    The basis is laid out in the piece. To claim defensiveness when I merely reassert my view in counterbalance to manifestly puerile and emotional arguments is absurd. If I did not reply you’d likely counter that was because I could not, for I lacked a solid basis for my argument. Damned if I do or don’t. But, solipsistic on your part.

    It’s sad, really, because I enjoy hearing people whose opinions differ greatly from mine. Your rhetoric, however, is anything but enjoyable.

    I have been pointed and on target in every reply I’ve made, because I respect people- even the dumb, enough to look them in the proverbial eye and say you’re wrong. If more critics did the same art would be much better off. So, at the end of your post, I am left with not a single point re: the film made, yet I have given you pointed and courteous replies that you diss. ‘Tis you who need the lesson in respect.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    To end, as this piece was cut off:

    I have no responded point by point to your pointless post, and done so w clarity and courtesy. ‘Tis you who need to learn what respect is.

  • CCB

    Dan, that was the most intelligent, reasonable and respectful rebuttal you have made in all of this. Bravo! I actually liked reading the opinions you expressed in that one. Finally, something worth my time! Thank you.

  • CCB

    Oh, I forgot to mention that your comment (“So, at the end of your post, I am left with not a single point re: the film made”) is dead-on. I had no intention of focusing on the film, but rather on your continued commentary. But since you mention it…I personally find the film intriguing, haunting and all the more interesting because of when it was made. I believe the contrast between the music and the imagery made the imagery all the more powerful. I did not mind that it played to my emotions; I actually cannot imagine any film documenting the Holocaust not intentionally or unintentionally doing so. Though there may, in fact, be more accurate, thorough and, perhaps, better documentaries on this time in history, the brief nature of Night and Fog lends itself to be appreciated in avenues in which the others would not. For example, there is no way my high school students would sit through 8 hours of documentary; however, this film gives them the chance to get some idea of the realities without tuning out. The political focus of the film is rooted in the time it was made, and because of that, carries a sense of propaganda with it. Does that lessen it’s artistic value? I argue that it does not as some of the most prolific images in art come from political propaganda.

    Is this a film worthy of an Oscar, Nobel Prize, or other such award for its artistic merits? Probably not. But should it be held up as a valuable piece in the archives of film on the Holocaust? Certainly.

    Now, before you take apart my post piece by piece, I want you to be fully aware that I am neither arguing any point you made, nor speaking really to your opinion at all. I am simply offering my own. Secondly, there is no emotional venting in this post…in case you didn’t notice!

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    I had no intention of focusing on the film, but rather on your continued commentary.

    Ok, but, then you have enough time to waste in your life replying to 3rd party arguments that do not address you? Must be nice to be independently wealthy, Say hi to Paris for me.

    I did not mind that it played to my emotions; I actually cannot imagine any film documenting the Holocaust not intentionally or unintentionally doing so.

    Note, you just admitted your critical limits. If you can only toot along in a jalopy, why should I, or others, wait for you with our Ferraris?

    The political focus of the film is rooted in the time it was made, and because of that, carries a sense of propaganda with it. Does that lessen it’s artistic value? I argue that it does not as some of the most prolific images in art come from political propaganda.

    That’s a general statement I don’t disagree with. But, as applied to the specifics of THIS film, I do.

    But should it be held up as a valuable piece in the archives of film on the Holocaust?

    Agreed. But a log book of which Gypsies or which Jews died on August 23rd, 1944, in Bergen-Belsen, while archive-worthy, is not via that fact, a piece of literature.

  • CCB

    “Ok, but, then you have enough time to waste in your life replying to 3rd party arguments that do not address you? Must be nice to be independently wealthy, Say hi to Paris for me.”

    You’re funny. And I will be glad to say, “Hi,” to her for you!

  • knocksvillage

    The number 9 million dead mentioned in the film includes not only the generally accepted number of 6 million Jews but also the 3 million others that were killed under the Nazi regime within the camps.
    At best, your article seems intended only to provoke a reaction. At least I hope this is the case. Quibbling over the numbers of people that were killed during the Holocaust is usually the concern of a certain type of revisionist historian. Opening your piece with the statement ‘I am not an anti-Semite’ seems the equivalent of those people who preface a racist statement with ‘I’m not a racist BUT…’
    Resnais’ film deals in some respects with complicity, the world’s collective guilt for allowing such genocide to occur (including, but not exclusively, the Holocaust). Clearly said message passed way over your head if you can come out with an article like this.
    Just depressing.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Knocks:

    The only thing that passed over anyone’s head was the preemption of such comments as yours by my preface. But then, simplemindedness must be nice for some.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com Dan Schneider

    Not to mention Santayana.

  • Jess

    Wow.