Night and Fog (1956)
Where I don't think most early film gets the respect and attention that it deserves that only increases with early documentaries. There were so many unique and difficult challenges that came with making them and being a reflection on the reality of that time they serve as real-time capsules of specific topics and ideas. I wanted to give some love to an older documentary and I settled on 1955's Night and Fog. Using footage taken in Nazi Germany of the concentration camps this serves as a haunting reflection and meditation on the horrors that happened during this time.
Obviously, with a subject like this, there are going to be some strong emotions and the overall feeling is going to be far from positive or happy. Yet I failed to really prepare myself for this, Schindler's List is a movie that left me disgusted and a mess of emotions multiple times yet this is that 10 fold. Being a documentary and actually seeing the graphic horrors of this regime. The evil that was displayed at this time. It is unlike anything else I have seen before. It makes you sick and gross which means its effective. It doesn't hold any punches as it goes through the sheer size of the death and horrific nature of these events. Sure it's horrible to see the endless piles of bodies in fictional movies but seeing the real thing hits you in such a different way. Like I said I really can't compare this to anything else I have ever experienced, I was visibly shaking as the film concluded which I say with nothing but positive intentions. This movie and these events should leave you feeling this way and the fact that it is able to connect so strongly is a sign of just how well crafted it is. Not only does this feeling come from the actual footage shown but also the masterful editing. It knows exactly how to structure itself to hit you as hard as possible with great uses of silence and lingering on certain shots. Also being only about 30 minutes it never feels like it drags or has to fill a longer runtime. It is able to be more selective and get to the point much quicker without the need to filler which I feel like is perfect for a film like this.
Coming out of this film I had no issues or complaints, only raw emotion. This is one of the most moving pieces of cinema I have ever seen that hit me like no other. The realness to this movie and its horrors floored me and even though this is as far from an enjoyable watch as you can get I highly recommend more check it out. This is an important piece of cinema that deserves to be seen and respected. Truly a haunting film that will stick with me for months if not years to come.