GOLD HUGO AWARD: BEST DOCUMENTARY Chicago International Film Festival (1996)
BEST DOCUMENTARY, HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY USA Film Fest (1996)
DIRECTOR'S CHOICE AWARD Black Maria Film Festival (1997)
Southampton Jewish Film Festival (2015)
Geneva International Jewish Film Festival (2011)
UK Jewish Film Festival (2010)
Zahor (Remember) - pronounced Zah'or with a hard "h", is a short film dedicated to keeping alive the memory of Jewish individuals and families who were the victims of Nazi persecutions, those who survived and those who did not.
It is not a documentary on Nazism or the horrors of the Shoah. Images of concentration camps, of the dead or of eyes peering behind barbed wire, are the sole reflection of the executioners. Instead, through a series of still photos and film excerpts, Zahor celebrates the life of those who are usually mentioned only as victims, and gives them back their dignity and identities as living, loving, laughing and fighting human beings. Following a loose historical thread, and with a text made almost entirely of excerpts of messages, and poems (some written by the very people on the photographs), it tries to grasp the intensity of the living presence of men, women and children of a people whose entire existence was meant to be erased.
Those who survived the camps and ghettos, and who were able to bear witness in public to the process of the Shoah, faced privately the emotional and psychological impossibility of evoking those who never returned. It is without a doubt the task of our generation - the eyewitnesses and survivors themselves disappear - to restore the ties of remembrance and to bring those who disappeared in the Shoah back to their rightful places within family trees and amongst the generations of human history.
Zahor is a poem, dedicated to the celebration of life. The people in the photo album are not nameless victims anymore. They are not faceless shadows invoked as evidence of the crimes of their executioners. Whatever our personal heritage may be, they become our friends, our relatives and bring us a message of dignity and respect for all life.
This film takes its viewers away from the absurd, unfathomable historical fact and closer to the intimate experience of sitting among friends and remembering together our loved ones.
"So many Holocaust films draw their power exclusively from the event itself, but Zahor has an original idea. In a brief 22 minutes Zahor makes an essential visual point about the victims of the Holocaust - that the way they are traditionally presented in the media, as skeletons in striped uniforms, says nothing about them but everything about their Nazi tormentors. Through vintage photographs and films we meet real people-not yet victims-young people with so much potential, crushed with so much hate, hate tolerated by so much indifference worldwide."
- Gene Siskel
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France, 1996, 22 minutes
French with English subtitles
Directed by Fabienne Rousso-Lenoir
Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, DVD