A PAS AVEUGLES

  • France, Germany
  • 2021

Soup dinners, barrack conversations, prisoners posing proudly in front of the camera in an act of quiet rebellion. Until now, the photos of inmates who risked their lives in concentration and extermination camps in order to record their everyday life as prisoners for posterity were largely unknown. The French documentary photographer Christophe Cognet has taken on the secretly taken photographs, bringing them into the light of day on large glass plates on site and thus illuminating their history in a penetrating way. Together with historians in Dachau, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück and Auschwitz-Birkenau, he embarks on an almost archaeological search for clues in order to uncover the images, their photographers and the exact circumstances under which the photos were taken between 1943 and 1944. The astonishing thing is the eternal contrast between life and death, waiting and torture, hopelessness and resistance.

Christophe Cognet, who already dealt sensitively with the artworks of concentration camp prisoners in Parce que j'étais peintre, l'art rescapé des camps nazis, achieves a rare balancing act with his new film: A pas aveugle is documentation and meditation, art and analysis, all in one. A careful play with memory and a skillful attempt to create transparency - in front of and behind the camera.

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