Wednesday, 28 January 2015

REVIEW - NIGHT WILL FALL (ANDRE SINGER)


How can so comprehensive a document and so fine a film still come up short? With requisite respect, Night Will Fall examines both the making and the shelving of the Hitchcock-supervised concentration camps documentary from the 1940s and that very film's own subject. Director Andre Singer pitches the tone of his tricky task well, resorting neither to hyperbole nor to complacency, and thus Night Will Fall shocks without sensationalising. There are some topics that cannot be covered enough in art, and the Holocaust is one such topic; in basic, primitive terms, these events will never cease to appall, the images captured here will never cease to repulse. The footage herein is among the most affecting you will ever witness - a statement I can make with confidence, given that there can be no question of the extremity that the depravity of the SS reached in these camps. On that footage alone, and on the collective decision made both now and 70 years ago not to censor, not to stage, simply to observe, Night Will Fall is an essential work. How hard it is to criticise, then, under such circumstances. And indeed, Night Will Fall is a very fine film, but it's worth considering that it could have, perhaps even should have, been more. It is short, too short - there's enough material here for limitless contemplation and examination. Voiceover narration by Helena Bonham Carter is soft and detached, and a tad didactic at times. The film itself presents mere detail after detail, with little inquiry; the details suffice, without doubt - how could they ever not? But still the notion remains, untroubled: how? Why? There are some topics that cannot be covered enough in art, and Night Will Fall does its bit to cover them, and no more.