If it’s true that the act of observing something changes the nature of the thing being observed, it’s equally true that it changes the observer.

In Spectres of the Shoah, director Claude Lanzmann discusses his youth in the French Resistance, his affair with Simone de Beauvoir, and the monumental task of filming his landmark Holocaust documentary.

What we see is a deeply paradoxical man, who talks with pride of the film that even he admits almost broke him, both physically and mentally. Like the barber from Treblinka, there are some things that, even now, Lanzmann finds too painful to discuss.

It would take a film as long as Shoah to do the story of its creation justice, but Benzine’s is a fascinating portrait of a towering figure in modern cinema.



DIRECTOR: Adam Benzine

SYNOPSIS: Director Claude Lanzmann discusses his life and the process of making Shoah.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 runs from June 5th-10th. Tickets are still available, and One Room With A View’s coverage will continue throughout the festival.