'Shoah' director Lanzmann to win Berlin film fest honour

29th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

French filmmaker and producer Claude Lanzmann, famous for his 1985 documentary "Shoah", will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, organisers said Thursday.

Announcing the award, festival director Dieter Kosslick hailed the 87-year-old Paris-born Lanzmann as "one of the great documentarists."

"With his depictions of inhumanity and violence, of anti-Semitism and its consequences, he created a new kind of cinematic and ethical exploration. We feel honoured to honour him," Kosslick said.

Lanzmann's most renowned work, the nine-and-a-half hour film "Shoah", includes interviews with survivors of the Holocaust and footage taken at various death camps.

Nearly 12 years in the making, the film "vividly call(s) into consciousness the unfathomable horrors of the Nazi genocide," the Berlin film festival said in a statement.

His other films include the 1973 documentary "Israel, Why" as well as a 2001 film about an uprising in the Sobibor death camp in 1943.

Lanzmann was born in 1925 to Jewish parents, fought in the French resistance and also taught at the then-newly founded Free University in Berlin after World War II.

He also played a part in French intellectual life, counting amongst his circle of friends existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

"His exploration of the Shoah, anti-Semitism and political struggles for freedom infuse both his cinematic and journalistic work," said the Berlinale.

The 63rd edition of the Berlin Film Festival takes place from February 7 to 17, with films vying for the coveted Golden Bear award.

Last year's top prize was handed to Italy's veteran film-makers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani for "Caesar Must Die", a docu-drama about inmates at a high-security prison staging Shakespeare.

The 2013 jury will be presided by award-winning Chinese director Wong Kar Wai.

© 2012 AFP

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