The Schmooze

Claude Lanzmann Honored in Berlin

French documentary filmmaker and producer Claude Lanzmann will be honored at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, where he spoke about filming his famous “Shoah” documentary.

Lanzmann, 87, was expected to receive an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement on Thursday evening.

“I was happy, I was moved and I was proud,” Lanzmann told some 200 people who gathered for a conversation between the filmmaker and German film historian Ulrich Gregor the day before the award ceremony.

Lanzmann became famous for his 10-hour, 13-minute documentary, “Shoah,” which was released in 1985 and took about 11 years to make. A digital restoration of the film was shown at the festival, which began Feb. 7 and runs through Feb. 17.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Lanzmann recalled how he had tricked old Nazis into giving him interviews. He said that a turning point in the filmmaking came when he set foot in the Polish village of Treblinka, where the death camp was located. Nearly 1 million Jews were gassed there, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“I could not admit that a village called Treblinka with people living inside it could exist, Lanzmann recalled. “But it did exist.”

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Claude Lanzmann Honored in Berlin

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