Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Night and Fog

Alan Resnais' holocaust documentary is very powerful, and puts documentary makes like Michael Moore to shame. The short work is filmed wonderfully, from beginning to end, whether this beautiful form is fitting for the subject matter or not. The camera smoothly pans through the opening scenes, cutting abruptly when necessary, and juxtaposing negative (barbed wire, for example) with the positive (the lush green landscape).

The real footage used is narrated in a haunting matter, and the selection of WWII footage seems relevant and well-placed. Another of my favorite shots in this movie is the way in which the camera pans down and slowly up on a set of railroad tracks. As the movement is finished, a building is presented in the distance. This same building is then featured in footage from WWII, and this formal transition is really incredible.

The last moment of documentary I would like to examine occurs toward the end of the film, as the stream of images becomes really intense. Images of human corpses are cut in between a pan over a countryside. This countryside is not ordinary, as it displays man-made constructs wrought with destruction. The image of the sundered road, especially, seems to argue that humans create destruction, and of course self destruction.

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