Night and Fog - A Film in History

Written by Sylvie Lindeperg; Tom Mes (Translator)
Night and Fog
by Sylvie Lindeperg
Translated by Tom Mes
(University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

A microhistory of arguably the most important documentary ever made (published by University of Minnesota Press, in December 2014).

A 2012 French Voices Award winner. 

An engrossing account of Alain Resnais’s incomparable film, this book documents how a film that began as a cinematic spin-off of an educational exhibition became a significant step in the building of a collective consciousness of the tragedy of World War II. The book offers a unique interpretation of the interworking of biography, history, politics, and film in one cultural moment.

François Truffaut called Night and Fog “the greatest film ever made.” But when Alain Resnais finished his documentary, with its depiction of Nazi atrocities, the resistance of the French censors was fierce. A mere decade had passed since the end of the war, and the French public was unprepared to confront the horrors shown in the film—let alone the possibility of French complicity. In fact it would be through Night and Fog that many viewers first learned, as film critic Serge Daney put it, “that the worst had only just taken place.”

Sylvie Lindeperg frames her investigation with the story of historian Olga Wormser-Migot, who played an integral role in the research and writing of Night and Fog—and whose slight error on one point gave purchase to the film’s detractors and revisionists and Holocaust deniers. Lindeperg follows the travails of Resnais, Wormser-Migot, and their collaborators in a pan-European search for footage, photographs, and other documentation. She uncovers creative use of liberation footage to stand in for daily life of the camps featured to such shocking effect in the film—a finding that raises hotly debated questions about reenactment and witnessing even as it enhances our understanding of the film’s provenance and impact.

The Author

Sylvie Lindeperg is professor of History at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is the author of many books in French, including Les Ecrans de l'ombre: La Seconde Guerre mondiale dans le cinéma français (1944–1969).

Praise

"I do not hesitate to call Sylvie Lindeperg’s marvelously detailed study “Night and Fog”: A Film in History a major work of contemporary film historical scholarship. . . . [It] affords genuinely original historical and aesthetic insights . . . in finely wrought prose."

Stuart Liebman, Cineaste

More information here.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Littleland

Hello and welcome to Littleland! Fresh from her success with the Noodle series, Marion Billet returns with a picture book for the very young, featuring the ten Littleland friends!
new titles

The Death Penalty, Volume I

In this newest installment in Chicago’s series of Jacques Derrida’s seminars, the renowned philosopher attempts one of his most ambitious goals: the first truly philosophical argument against the death penalty. While much has been written against the death penalty, Derrida contends that Western philosophy is massively, if not always overtly, complicit with a logic in which a sovereign state has the right to take a life. Haunted by this notion, he turns to the key places where such logic has been established—and to the place it has been most effectively challenged: literature.
new titles

The Devil in the Flesh

Hailed by Jean Cocteau as a “masterpiece,” and by the Guardian as “Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero, avant la lettre,” this taut tale written by a teenager in the form of a frank “confession” is a gem of early twentieth century romanticism.
1/3
MORE IN books
authors on tour

Marie-Hélène/Sam Bourcier

November 5-17, 2016
US Tour
authors on tour

Pap Ndiaye

November 4-13, 2016
East Coast
authors on tour

Vinciane Despret

October 29-November 8, 2016
US Tour
authors on tour

Antoine Volodine

October 11-18, 2016
West Coast
event

Catherine Millet in Conversation with Olivier Barrot

09/26/2016 | 6:30pm
Maison Française of NYU
16 Washington Mews (at University Place)
New York, NY 10003
event

Lecture on "La Cache" by Christophe Boltanski and Laura Marris

09/27/2016 | 4pm
Yale University
Whitney Humanities Center
53 Wall Street, Room 208
New Haven, CT