'Shoah' filmmaker honored with lifetime achievement award

BERLIN — French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, maker of “Shoah,” the 1985 documentary on the Holocaust, will be honored at next year’s Berlin Film Festival with a lifetime achievement award.

Born in Paris in 1925, Lanzmann fought in the French Resistance and later became an active supporter of the Algerian independence movement in the early 1960s.

His exploration of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and political struggles for freedom marked both his cinematic and journalistic endeavors.

Lanzmann worked primarily as a journalist until the early 1970s and is still the publisher of the magazine Les Temps Modernes, founded by Jean-Paul Sartre.

In the nine-and-a-half hour “Shoah,” Lanzmann examines the Holocaust through interviews with survivors and witnesses, including perpetrators, and visits Nazi death camps.

The film screened in the Berlinale’s Forum sidebar in 1986 and went on to receive a number of international awards.

“Claude Lanzmann is one of the great documentarists,” said Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick. “With his depictions of inhumanity and violence, of anti-Semitism and its consequences, he created a new kind of cinematic and ethical exploration. We feel honored to honor him.”

The Berlinale will pay tribute to Lanzmann with the fest’s Honorary Golden Bear. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of 2001’s “Sobibor, 14 October 1943, 4pm,” about the inmate uprising at the Sobibor death camp.

Lanzmann’s complete body of work will be presented as part of the Berlinale’s Homage, including 1973’s “Israel, Why”; 1994’s “Tsahal”; 1997’s “A Visitor from the Living”; 2010’s “The Karski Report”; and the debut screening of the restored and digitized version of “Shoah.”

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