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About "The Holocaust in French Film"
by André Pierre Colombat

The Scarecrow Press Filmmakers Series, 1993 (ISBN: 0-8108-2668-2)

Part 1 of this pioneering study analyzes the evolution of the representation of the Holocaust in French cinema from 1940 to the present.  It examines the difficulties with which French cinema answered the three questions: What happened? (beginning in the postwar period with Resnais' most acclaimed documentary, Night and Fog); Who is responsible? (with Ophüls' masterpiece The Sorrow and the Pity as the precursor of a tide of films confronting the wide popularity of Pétain and the Vichy government's responsibility for the persecution of the Jews); and How can we be sure we will never forget? (with Lanzmann's celebrated film Shoah at the heart of this ongoing debate).

Part II gathers detailed analyses of the nine most widely praised French films dealing with the Holocaust (films by Resnais, Ophüls, Malle, Losey, Lanzmann, and Sauvage). Includes stills, filmography, bibliography, index, and a lengthy interview with director Pierre Sauvage.


“[Colombat’s] essays are refreshingly free of trendy, tendentious jargon, and as such, should be excellent points of departures for classroom discussion at several levels, particularly because of the many pages which clearly and succinctly map out the structures of the most complex films.  At the same time, however, Colombat’s studies are anything but neutral and unsophisticated: precise, extensive analyses of the many technical devices of film narrative (including shot composition, camera angle and movement, editing and the use of sound) lay the foundation for subtle, detailed interpretations. [...] a most useful and informative book on a critically important subject.”
Nathan Bracher, The French Review

An “outstanding academic book.”

About author André Pierre Colombat:

André Pierre Colombat is an Associate Professor of French at Loyola College in Baltimore.  He was born and grew up in Roanne, France, near Lyon, the capital of the French Résistance, and Vichy, the capital of the French Collaboration during World War II.  After the khâgne in Lyon, he received his Licence and Maîtrise in Modern Literature from the Université Lyon II, and his Ph.D. from Washington University in Saint Louis.  In 1985 he attended the philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s seminar on Michel Foucault in Paris.  He taught for two years at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras in Tegucigalpa.  He has lectured and published various articles on French literature, film and civilization.  His latest book is entitled Deleuze et la littérature.  He is currently working on a book on bilingual writers.

A.     Colombat can be reached at Acolombat@Loyola.edu.

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