“Non-sites of memory”: Poland in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah outtakes

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Vice, Sue
Williams, Dominic
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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This article analyses some of the 30 hours of location footage excluded from Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 Holocaust documentary Shoah. Although there has been some analysis of the outtake material in Lanzmann’s archive which consists of eyewitness interviews, very little attention has been paid to the footage of landscape, urban and camp settings, from which we have drawn these examples of Polish sites. We argue that it is possible to discern the presence of a specifically spatial memory by considering this excluded material in a way that draws on its outtake status, that is, its form of 11-minute reels unaccompanied by eyewitness presence or voiceover. The filmic construction of spaces to suit Lanzmann’s concerns is revealed if we attend to this material in its unedited state, with its constituent repetitions and exclusions, as a spatial version of the director’s customary interest in the reincarnation of the past in the present.
Claude Lanzmann , Poland , Shoah , Outtakes , Spatial memory
Vice, S. and Williams, D. (2021) '“Non-sites of memory”: Poland in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah outtakes', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 21, pp. 35-54. https://doi.org/10.33178/alpha.21.02