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Selfies from the Holocaust

Austerlitz
Regissør: Sergei Loznitsa
(Tyskland)

The Austerlitz documentary observes the hordes of people visiting the German concentration camps, as if they were any tourist attraction.

A number of documentaries have been made about the concentration and extermination camps of the Second World War. More will and should probably be, as it is obviously important to remember this horrific part of our still close history.

Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsas Austerlitz however, stands out from other such films, as it does not primarily address what was going on in these camps, but how we remember this. Specifically, the film focuses on the hordes of tourists who visit the German concentration camps as if they were at any tourist attraction, and how this contrasts in some stark contrast to the historical seriousness of these cities.

Observes from a distance. Austerlitz – whose title is taken from WG Sebald's novel, while acting on a misconception of the name "Auschwitz" – can safely be called an observational documentary. Here are no "talking heads" or explanatory narrative voices, only longer, tabloid sequences where a static camera captures crowds moving through different parts of Dachau and Sachsenhausen, filmed from a certain distance.

"We are used to World War II and concentration camps being in black and white, from actual documentary material to Schindler's list. "

It's tempting to say that the devil is in the details, when tourists have chosen to wear t-shirts with inscriptions such as "Just Don't Care", "Cool Story, Bro" and "Jurassic Park" – or simply with a image of a huge skull. Such clothing choices have hardly been made deliberately on the occasion of the impending excursion to the camps where so many people have been taken by surprise, but still appear. . .

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Aleksander Huser
Huser is a regular film critic in Ny Tid.

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