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Shoah director Claude Lanzmann has debuted a trailer for his new Holocaust documentary The Last of the Unjust, which The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively premiering.
The 87-year-old Frenchman, who is best known for directing the nine-hour Holocaust doc Shoah (1985) — on which he worked for 10 years of his life and received tremendous acclaim before being famously snubbed by the Academy’s documentary branch — also centers his newest film around the same subject.
The Last of the Unjust focuses on Benjamin Murmelstein, who was the Jewish Council president — or “Elder of the Jews,” as the Nazis referred to him and other Jewish representatives — of the Theresienstadt ghetto and was widely reviled by Jews after the war for collaborating with the Nazis. Much of the film’s footage was drawn from a lengthy interview that Lanzmann conducted with Murmelstein in 1975 for Shoah — the first that Murmelstein ever gave on camera — but then felt it was too big of a story on its own to include. (Lanzmann has said, “If I had included him, Shoah would have had to be 20 hours long.”)
The film, which had its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival and then played at the fests in Toronto, New York, London and Chicago, will be given a one-week Oscar-qualifying run in New York by Cohen Media Group beginning Dec. 13.
Perhaps the Academy, of which Lanzmann finally became a member this year, will be more discerning this year than it was 28 years ago. If the length of Shoah‘s runtime was an issue for Oscar voters back then, they should take comfort in knowing that the runtime of The Last of the Unjust is only three hours and 40 minutes.
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