Cinema and the Shoah

An Art Confronts the Tragedy of the Twentieth Century

Edited by Jean-Michel Frodon
Translated by Anna Harrison & Tom Mes

Subjects: Film Studies, Holocaust Studies, Jewish Studies, World War Ii
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438430263, 415 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9781438430270, 415 pages, January 2010

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Intersecting Paths
Jean Michel Frodon
2. The Shoah as a Question of Cinema
Marie José Mondzain
3. Recovery
Jacques Mandelbaum
4. A Cinema No Longer Silent
Hubert Damisch
5. Fatal Rendezvous
Jean Louis Comolli
6. Night and Fog: Inventing a Perspective
Sylvie Lindeperg
7. The Work of the Filmmaker: An Interview with Claude Lanzmann
Jean Michel Frodon
8. Conversations at the Mill with Arnaud Desplechin, Jean Michel Frodon, Sylvie Lindeperg, Jacques Mandelbaum, Marie José Mondzain, Annette Wieviorka
9. Hollywood and the Shoah, 1933–1945
Bill Krohn

10. “The Past in the Present”: The Films of Producer Artur Brauner and the Dominant Narratives on the Genocide of European Jews in German Cinema
Ronny Loewy
11. Forgetting, Instrumentalization, and Transgression: The Shoah in Israeli Cinema
Ariel Schweitzer

12. The Filmed Witness
Annette Wieviorka
13. Historiography/Holocaust Cinema: Challenges and Advances
Stuart Liebman
14. Referent Images
Jean Michel Frodon
15. Filmography: Thematic Dictionary
Documentaries and Montage Films
Fiction Films
Television Programs
Period Documents
Nazi Propaganda
16. “Cinematography of the Holocaust”: Documentation and Indexing of Film and Video Documents
Ronny Loewy
Contributors Index

Examines the variety of cinematic responses to the Holocaust as well as the Shoah’s impact on cinematic expression itself.


From The Great Dictator to Schindler's List, the extermination of the Jews of Europe has driven the cinema, more than any other form of artistic expression, to question its methods, techniques, and ethics. It is with reference to the Shoah that a decisive part of the thought behind modern cinema has been constructed, and, consciously or not, many of the greatest films of the past sixty years bear the mark of this event. To give an account of these phenomena, Cinema and the Shoah brings together filmmakers, historians, journalists, philosophers, and researchers to explore how the Shoah, as a historical event, implicated and mobilized the cinema by profoundly questioning its modes of recounting and storytelling, of putting visions onscreen. The book also includes a filmography (compiled with the assistance of the Fritz Bauer Institute of Frankfurt) that lists over three hundred feature-length films, short films, and documentaries about the Shoah, produced between 1945 and the present.

Jean-Michel Frodon is a former managing editor of Cahiers du cinéma. His previous books include La critique de cinéma and Le cinéma chinois.


"Cinema and the Shoah … opens up new avenues with regard to the insistence on Auschwitz as blind spot, as absolute negativity, and its impact on visual language … the book will be a valuable resource for students, teachers, and researchers of Jewish and modern history, of visual culture and the Holocaust. " ¬ — H-Net Reviews (H-Judaic)

"Cinema and the Shoah takes on an unbelievably complex and difficult subject—not to mention an emotionally draining one—with intellectual force. " — AJL Reviews

"…Frodon has put together a remarkable collection of essays and still photographs. " — CHOICE

"With its comprehensive examination of the role that the cinema, broadly defined, has played in representing an event that only problematically permits representation, Cinema and the Shoah fills a significant gap in Holocaust studies. An engaging, disturbing, provocative book that is a must read for both film scholars and those interested in the central role that films and filmmakers have played in making known and shaping the meaning of the Holocaust. " — R. Barton Palmer, Clemson University

"This book underlines how much, and in what ways, the Holocaust can be seen at the roots of cinematographic modernity. " — Les Inrockuptibles, in praise of the French edition

"Many voices, signatures, and angles are put together to explore the way the Holocaust—and the denial of the image and the human it signifies—drew its deep imprint in cinema. " — Le Monde, in praise of the French edition