When looking for a theme in which to select films from the start of November until Thanksgiving being literal is not the best option. Films centered around Thanksgiving tend to be overly obsessed with dysfunctional families. So in thinking about the nature of the day which was initially a celebration of survival in the New World, I thought why not focus on foreign films.
Night & Fog
It is virtually impossible to ever come close to fully grasping the totality of the horror of the holocaust. If anything were to ever come close it’s Night & Fog. Never has the greatest calamity of the 20th Century been handled so precisely.
Many people are down on voice over narration but it’s part of the nature of the beast in a documentary and here, in this film, you have some of the greatest narration ever written by Jean Cayrol, a man who was himself a concentration camp survivor.
Not only does this film uniquely, at the time, mix color and black and white images but also uses the abandoned structures of the camps to haunt the film.
There is no question that this film is the apex of documentary filmmaking. It tried to take a massive subject and condense into something easy to understand. It allows you to reflect on things you see and learn but tries to bring as much of what transpired out as it can.
It also in turn becomes an important historical document. It is a masterpiece in as much as it achieves perfection in its form. If it was a feature length documentary it may not have this kind of impact. It is an eye-opening and jarring account of the atrocities of the second World War that should be required viewing for all.