Alain Resnais

France, 2019 / 32 min / French OV with English subt. / documentary, history

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020
Gian Maria Tore, Christoph Brüll

In 1956, renowned filmmaker Alain Resnais directed one of the first documentary shorts about the Holocaust and the terror of concentration camps.

Directed by Alain Resnais, Night and Fog is a 1956 French documentary short about the Nazis’ extermination system and the marks it left on landscapes from France to Poland. The harrowing images of the abandoned concentration camps, barracks and crematorium ovens that Resnais filmed ten years after the camps’ liberation, as well as archive material from various countries, document the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust like few films have managed to do before or since. Night and Fog, a reference to the programme of clandestine abductions decreed by Nazi Germany to make the most unwanted opponents disappear, is a strong reminder of why commemoration of these crimes against humanity will never cease to be necessary. The film was the first important milestone against a possible advance of Holocaust denial, as well as a warning on the risks that would present a trivialisation, or even the return of antisemitism, racism or totalitarianism to Europe.

“Only half an hour long, this is the greatest film ever made about the concentration camps.” Jonathan Rosenbaum

The screening will be followed by a discussion with two researchers of the University of Luxembourg, Gian Maria Tore, semiologist specialised in film analysis, and Christoph Brüll, historian.

Fri 31/01 20:30 Cinémathèque FR OV with EN subt. Public

“Certainly it is one of the two or three most powerful and intelligent nonfiction films ever made […] and it is also, among those many movies that have taken on the loaded subject matter of the Holocaust, perhaps the most aesthetically sophisticated and ethically irreproachable.” Phillip Lopate, The Criterion Collection, 24/06/2003

“Only half an hour long, this is the greatest film ever made about the concentration camps. […] Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 Shoah is so indebted to this film that it never could have been conceived, much less made, without Resnais’ example, and Schindler’s List is a cartoon alongside it.” Jonathan Rosenbaum,, 1/11/1996

  • Prix Jean-Vigo for the Best Short Film, Prix Jean-Vigo, 1956 (France)
  • Cinema Eye Honors Awards – The Influentials, Cinema Eye Honors Awards, 2014 (USA)
Cast & Credits
Michel Bouquet
Jean Cayrol
Ghislain Cloquet, Sacha Vierny
Jacqueline Chasney, Henri Colpi
Hanns Eisler
Argos Films
Tamasa Distribution

Alain Resnais, born in 1922 and deceased in 2014, was a French director, and an advocate of the documentary style of filmmaking of the Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave. He regularly worked with distinguished French literary figures, such as Marguerite Duras, who wrote the screenplay based on her own novel, Hiroshima mon amour (1959), the first of Resnais’s feature films released in cinemas. In 1959, Alain Resnais’s adaptation was presented to critically acclaim in Cannes and turned the director into one of the best-known figures of French cinema. Memories and commemoration were some of his favourite themes, to be found in several of his works, such as Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Last Year at Marienbad (1961, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice), Muriel, or the Time of Return (1963) and of course also in his documentary short Night and Fog (1956) about deportation and the Nazi extermination camps.

  • 2014 – Aimer, boire et chanter
  • 2012 – Vous n’avez encore rien vu
  • 2008 – Les herbes folles
  • 2006 – Petites peurs partagées
  • 2003 – Pas sur la bouche
  • 1997 – On connait la chanson
  • 1993 – Smoking/No Smoking
  • 1991 – Contre l’oubli : Pour Esteban (short in a collection)
  • 1989 – I Want to Go Home
  • 1986 – Mélo
  • 1984 – L’Amour à mort
  • 1983 – La vie est un roman
  • 1980 – Mon oncle d’Amérique
  • 1977 – Providence
  • 1974 – Biarritz-Bonheur
  • 1968 – Je t’aime, je t’aime
  • 1966 – La Guerre est finie
  • 1963 – Muriel ou le temps d’un retour
  • 1961 – L’année dernière à Marienbad
  • 1959 – Hiroshima, mon amour
  • 1959 – Le chant du Styrène (documentary short)
  • 1957 – Le mystère de l’atelier quinze (short)
  • 1957 – Toute la mémoire du monde (documentary short)
  • 1956 – Nuit et brouillard (documentary short)
  • 1953 – Les statues meurent aussi (documentary short)
  • 1951 – Guernica (documentary short)
  • 1950 – Gauguin (documentary short)
  • 1948 – Van Gogh (documentary short)
  • 1948 – Châteaux de France (documentary short)
  • 1948 – Les jardins de Paris (short)
  • 1948 – Malfray documentary short)
  • 1947 – Journée naturelle documentary short)
  • 1947 – L’alcool tue (short)
  • 1947 – La bague (short)
  • 1947 – Portrait d’Henri Goetz (documentary short)
  • 1947 – Visite à César Doméla (documentary short)
  • 1947 – Visite à Félix Labisse (documentary short)
  • 1947 – Visite à Hans Hartung (documentary short)
  • 1947 – Visite à Lucien Coutaud (documentary short)
  • 1947 – Visite à Oscar Dominguez (documentary short)
  • 1946 – Ouvert pour cause d’inventaire (short)
  • 1946 – Schéma d’une identification (documentary short)
  • 1946 – L’aventure de Guy (short)