All depictions of the Holocaust grapple with a central question: how does one represent the unrepresentable? The continuous stream of new films about the Holocaust, more than seventy years after the end of World War II, attests to both the difficulties and the importance of this problem. The films selected for this series span these decades and challenge us to think about how much is said through silence and fraught emotional connections between the films and their audiences. This program of documentaries ranges from some of the first filmic reflections of the atrocities in the camps in Billy Wilder’s Death Mills (1945) and Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (1956), to a search for the lost East European Jewish communities of Ruth Beckermann’s family members before WWII in her film Paper Bridge (1987), to Chantal Akerman’s moving final film about her relationship to her mother and their relationship to her mother’s past in No Home Movie (2015). The films all reflect on questions of responsibility, violence, and humanity in ways that resonate in the present day, thus creating compelling albeit complicated relationships between past and present.
This series is a collaboration between the George Eastman Museum, the JCC Ames Amzalak Rochester Jewish Film Festival, and the University of Rochester. It is made possible in part by the University of Rochester’s German Program, Film and Media Studies Program, and Center for Jewish Studies.