directed by Claude Lanzmann
France 1985

 

Making a history was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to construct something more powerful than that” – Claude Lanzmann

I consider Shoah to be the greatest documentary about contemporary history ever made, bar none, and by far the greatest film I’ve ever seen about the Holocaust” – Marcel Ophuls

I would never have imagined such a combination of beauty and horror… A sheer masterpiece” – Simone de Beauvoir

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The enormity of Claude Lanzmann’s mission and the devastating nature of his subject matter have tended to overshadow Shoah’s greatness as documentary filmmaking. Not simply the most ambitious movie ever made about the extermination of the Jews, Shoah is a work that treats the issue of representation so scrupulously it might have been inspired by the Old Testament injunction against graven images—it’s a movie you watch in your mind's eye.

J. Hoberman's Capsule Review in the Village Voice HERE

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DVD Review: Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution

Masters of Cinema

Region 0 - PAL

There is a region 1 - NTSC edition available from New Yorker Video -  REVIEWED HERE and available here:

           

Runtime 9:01:19 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrates

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English
Features Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 184-page book featuring a masterclass with Claude Lanzmann and an essay about the film by Stuart Liebman

DVD Release Date: February 19th, 2007
3 Keep Cases in a solid box

Chapters 123

  

Comments:
MoC's job on this DVD release of "Shoah" is nothing less than heroic. The effort and care that went into the digital presentation of this astounding work of art is visible everywhere in this package, from the newly translated subtitles to the beautifully assembled booklet.

For the transfer of "Shoah", MoC did their own encode of an expensive telecine that the French owners of the film created in the late 90s/00s. Therefore it differs from New Yorker's R1 transfer. The image has its expectable scratches, dirt and grain but still looks quite clear and sharp. "Shoah", which Lanzmann shot with portable 16mm cameras, will probably never look better than it does here.

The 2.0 soundtrack fulfills its purpose as well. A film so filled with talk as "Shoah" demands a good audio track and MoC have provided the film with just that. Ambient and background noise sounds just as well and creates the kind of atmosphere Lanzmann wanted his film to have.

NOTE: in regards to the discussed audio sync issue - we have this from one of the principals of Masters of Cinema: "The audio sync: this is due to a minor problem with the masters we received, and it's found on the French edition as well. The sound is out of sync by about two frames for a couple of minutes in a few places on DISC 1. The other discs are fine..." --Trond / MoC

MoC put a lot of care into their newly created subtitles, which are more accurate than they've ever been. They are, of course, optional.

With a film like "Shoah" one doesn't really miss bonus material. In a way the film comments on its own making and we get comments from Lanzmann in the booklet.

Every new MoC release proofs that no other DVD company in the world, not even Criterion, produces better booklets. This should be called a book anyway, as it is filled with a chapter guide through the four discs, an introductory essay by Stuart Liebman, a gallery of all the interviewees in the film and a masterclass transcript with Claude Lanzmann, all on 184 pages. It is a very rewarding companion piece to the film.

To review DVDs like this one is a pleasure. We get one of the most important films of the century in a definitive DVD edition, looking and sounding better than it ever did, featuring flawlessly translated and assembled subtitles and a booklet that could hardly be more informative. This is, in my humble opinion, a truly essential DVD release.

 - Stan Czarnecki

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Masters of Cinema

Region 0 - PAL

There is a region 1 - NTSC edition available from New Yorker Video -  REVIEWED HERE and available here:

           




 

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