When I watched this movie I was lucky to receive some background information before the movie and a critical analysis afterwards. Without it I probably wouldn't have given it a 7 rating.
It is an extremely slow movie, probably around 40 shots, without a narrative and filmed in black and white. The viewer gets confronted with images of visitors of the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. Most of the shots last a couple of minutes. There is no narrator, only the sound of the people and an occasional explanation of a guide. For me, this was a very difficult experience. The movie itself is a critique on the way we visit these sensitive places. Throughout the picture we can hear a guide who tells about Johann Elser, who attempted to kill Hitler but failed and was brought to the Dachau concentration camp where he was tortured and killed. During this explanation we see people who genuinely care about what the guide has to tell. On the other hand, we can also see a girl who tries to hold a water bottle on her head. Each of the shots in this movie has this kind of duality in it.The material was carefully picked by Loznitsa to prove his views about these practices.
If you can make it to the end of the movie - when I watched it a lot of the people in the cinema walked out before it was over- you will have been confronted with Loznitsa his feelings about visiting these concentration camps. These are places where we remember the horror that happened there. But at the same time it is a good example of how capitalism and innovation affects our lives. Dozens of people with smartphones, cameras, branded shirts, food, etc. will have passed on the screen.
It is an interesting experience, and it makes you think about the way these places are being visited.
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There are places in Europe that have remained as painful memories of the past - factories where humans were turned into ash. These places are now memorial sites that are open to the public and receive thousands of tourists every year. The film's title refers to the eponymous novel
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