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International Competition – Cutting Edge

A pas aveugles

From Where They Stood

Christophe Cognet

France, Germany 2021. 110 Min.
Color. DCP. F/D/Pol/e

Soup being served, chatting in the barracks, prisoners proudly posing in front of the camera in an act of silent rebellion. The photographs by inmates, who risked their lives in the concentration and extermination camps in order to capture for posterity what everyday life as a prisoner was like, have remained largely unknown. The French documentary filmmaker Christophe Cognet has dedicated himself to exploring the secretly made images and reproducing them on large glass plates, with the aim of exhibiting them in broad daylight, thus illuminating their history in a strangely pervasive way. In Dachau, Buchenwald, Ravensbrück and Auschwitz-Birkenau, he teams up with historians to embark on an almost archaeological search for traces, to find out more about the pictures, their photographers and the underlying circumstances under which they were taken between 1943 and 1944. The breathtaking thing about them is the eternal contrast between life and death, waiting and torture, hopelessness and resistance.

 

Christophe Cognet, who already took a sensitive look at art of concentration camp prisoners in Because I was a Painter, Art that survived the Nazi camps, achieves a rare balancing act with his latest film: From Where They Stood is documentation and meditation, art and analysis, all in one. It is a careful play with memory and a skilful attempt to create transparency – both in front of and behind the camera. (pj)

CREDITS

DirectorChristophe Cognet
ScreenplayChristophe Cognet
CinematographyCéline Bozon
EditingCatherine Zins
WithChristophe Cognet, Tal Bruttmann, Corinne Halter
ProducerRaphaël Pillosio
Distributionmk2 Films, Paris, www.mk2.com

Films of the director shown at further editions of Bildrausch