Similarities Between Night And Fog

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Night and Fog represents an awareness of its own limitations and impasses and presents these directly. It moves away from the realism of earlier documentaries that attempted to map and communicate the Nazi atrocities, often through newsreel footage combined with polemical narration. One of the fundamental ways in which Night and Fog undermines this realism is through underscoring film’s failure to represent Holocaust. The narrator tells us: ‘No description, no image can restore their true dimension’ as the camera glides through contemporary footage of empty bunkbeds. When filming contemporary footage the camera is constantly tracking, moving between objects and buildings, lingering on particular views before moving on. It is not the point of view of scientific documentation or forensic work, but is an existential position.…show more content…
This aesthetic motif reflects the fundamental principle of Night and Fog. A total document is impossible, so Resnais instead constructs the camera as a perspective. At one point the camera glides across the latrines of Auschwitz, while the narrator describes the ‘bloated skeletons’ that sat there. The camera then stops still and pans upwards to point in the direction of the camera’s movement; it is as if the attention of the camera, as a human’s might, has shifted and we are now focussing elsewhere. ‘Night and Fog, is, in effect, an anti-documentary’, writes Philip Lopate, an appropriate description given the contrast between the expository mode of typical documentaries and the poetic impenetrability of Night and Fog. However, paradoxically, in drawing our attention to the impasses of representation, it manages to achieve a particular form of representation – one that recognizes the rhetoric and formal methods that are used to represent history, a recognition that postmodernism
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