About us
Croatian film


Nuit et brouillard — Alain Resnais’ Memento for Our Reality

Essayistic review of the documentary film Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog, 1955) by Alain Resnais in which the director depicts Auschwitz ten years after the end of the second world war. Alain Resnais, later most famous for his first two »intellectual« and perfectly chiselled feature films Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and L’année derni#re à Marienbad (1961), created a work of art greater than the art itself with this film, a film about the historic break between humanism and modern art which was the subject matter of Adorno, Horkheimer, Lyotard. With its systematic, scientific and technological extermination of human beings, night and fog, Nacht und Nebel became the paradigm of the biopolitical world discussed by Giorgio Agamben today.

»The holy life« of Agamben’s homo sacer shows that the images from Nuit et brouillard are forgotten in today’s biopolitical world. The stateless person, the refugee, the asylum-seeker, the migrant... They are all Nazi death camps’ inmates of today’s biopolitical world. Who can forget the shocking Nazi experiment with using parts of human body for objects’ recycling? But Resnais notes the existence of »cultural contents« within the camps such as orchestra, and he also mentions »zoological gardens«. Agamben writes about a metapolitical phenomenon of human parks and about a »warehouse« as a metaposition of the West (»The warehouse, not the state, is the biopolitical paradigm of the West!«).

Truffaut said that Nuit et brouillard was »the greatest film of all times«. In his Histoires du cinéma, showing segments from Resnais’ film, Godard talked about the hollow death bells’ ringing accompanying the scenes that recall the Breughel’s Triumph of Death. Resnais juxtaposes the film’s impotence before the documentary scenes of diluvial evil embodied in Auschwitz to its »fatal beauty«. History is full of faults to be able to explain the Auschwitz and concentration camps’ phenomena. Even the documentary, as the basic film form, remains powerless with regard to this question.

Marijan Krivak

Truffaut — Provisional, Definitive
From Tears to Laughter (Hungarian Films on 1956 Revolution)

View other articles in this edition...


new edition

Web Statistics