Did you feel Lanzmann went to far in his cinema verite interview with
barber, Abraham Bomba, in Shoah?
I do not. I was clearly very hard for Bomba to recount some of his memories of the death camps, but this kind of primary source testimony is invaluable as a memorial to what happened. Sure, tears were in his eyes, but generations to come will see this interview and feel the shock, sorrow, and remorse that his story evokes. Sometimes the truth–the horrible truth that also makes us better people–requires sacrifice; this is one of those times.
I agree with Chris. I also think Lanzmann discussed the interview with Mr. Bomba beforehand. I felt that there was a mutual consent between the two men that Lanzmann would have to continue the interview, even if Mr. Bomba felt the need to stop to compose himself. Mr. Bomba’s testimony of his experience in the Holocaust is a great truth that had to be shared with the world, if not just to educate those who weren’t there, but also as a memorial to the lives that were lost.
It is commendable that Mr. Bomba did not discontinue the interview even though it was apparent early on that he was uncomfortable. His tone seemed very bothered but at the same time, he was able to remain composed which I feel can only be attributed to Lanzmann’s choice to conduct the interview in an environment comfortable to Bomba (though his voice may have been hesitant, the movement of his hands and body seemed very natural in his job). Try to think if the interview had been a Morris style sitdown – I cannot imagine Bomba would have been able to intimate such detail.
I feel that his interview was appropriately intrusive – the fact that he kept the footage of him prodding Bomba to continue meant that he was earnest in his desire to reveal the truth of that small but profoundly intense emotional slice of the entire experience of the Holocaust.
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