IN DARKNESS (Agnieszka Holland, 2011)

Subterranean handheld camera: flickering patches of light in darkness: human faces; human lives.     There must always be the modern Israel: this is the message of Agnieszka Holland’s stunning In Darkness. About the almost inconceivably challenging ordeal of Jewish adults and children hiding for 14 months in the dark, rat-infested Lvov sewers during the German […]

DOWN THERE (Chantal Äkerman, 2006)

Interviewer: “[S]o many of your films have to do with travel and moving from place to place—” Chantal Äkerman: “You mean nomadisme. Well, I’m Jewish. That’s all. So I’m in exile all the time. Wherever we go, we are in exile. Even in Israel, we are in exile.” Traditionally, documentaries “document” external realities. In 2006, […]

CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER (Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin, 1961)

This monumental film by anthropological documentarian Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, Chronique d’un été (Paris 1960), marks the invention of cinéma vérité, the name given it by Rouch. An unconcealed “living camera,” “a highly portable lightweight camera connected to a synchronized sound recorder” (Sadoul), was used by the cameraman accompanying an interviewer who asked […]

A FILM UNFINISHED (Yael Hersonski, 2010)

From Israel and Germany, Yael Hersonski’s Shtikat Haarchion examines “Das Ghetto,” the hauntingly silent, black-and-white film, full of indelible Jewish faces, that the Nazis made to document life in the Warsaw Ghetto in May 1942, just two months before they began deporting these Jewish ghetto prisoners to death camps such as at Treblinka. Hersonski’s documentary […]