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German Concentration Camps Factual Survey 2014

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A lost masterpiece of British documentary cinema from 1945

On the 29th September 1945, the incomplete rough cut of a brilliant documentary about concentration camps was viewed at the MOI in London. For five months, Sidney Bernstein had led a small team – which included Stewart McAllister, Richard Crossman and Alfred Hitchcock – to complete the film from hours of shocking footage. Unfortunately, this ambitious Allied project to create a feature-length visual report that would damn the Nazi regime and shame the German people into acceptance of Allied occupation had missed its moment. Even in its incomplete form (available since 1984) the film was immensely powerful, generating an awed hush among audiences. But now, complete to six reels, this faithfully restored and definitive version produced by IWM, is being compared with Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog (1955).

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