and now . . . philip lopate

Some words from Philip Lopate.  These words, from his book Totally, Tenderly, Tragically, excerpted in the liner notes for the Criterion edition of Resnais’ Night and Fog, where I read them first.

Night and Fog is, in effect, an anti-documentary; we cannot “document” this particular reality, it is too heinous, we would be defeated in advance.  What can we do, then?  Resnais and Cayrol’s answer is: we can reflect, ask questions, examine the record, and interrogate our own responses.  In short, offer up an essay.  Moreover, by chossing to compress such enormous subject matter into only a half hour . . . the filmmakers force themselves into the pigrammatic concision and synthesis of essayistic reflection.

Later, some response.

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