Much of French filmmaker Alain Resnais’s work grapples with history and memory, their roles within society, and the ways in which individuals psychologically process the past. In 1955, ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, Resnais made Night and Fog, one of the first films to confront the devastation of the Holocaust. Intercutting wartime footage with visits to the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz and Majdanek, this landmark documentary short investigates the nature of violence and the history that haunts these spaces.
For our Blu-ray edition of Night and Fog, which will be released next Tuesday, we sat down with Oscar-nominated documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence) for an interview about the film.
In the clip below, Oppenheimer examines Resnais’s strategy of leaving crucial questions unasked and the effect that has on viewers.
Below, Oppenheimer analyzes the film’s universal moral warning about the human capacity for violence.