Thursday, March 12, 2009

Refusing to understand

@ Sign and Sight

Lanzmann speaks about his Jewish identity. It was important to him and his work to be part of Judaism and also an outsider. He could never have made his film "Shoah" had he actually been deported. When he approached American Jews to finance the project and they asked what his "message" was, he didn't know where to begin. "They expected me to tell them: 'Never again', or 'Love one another'. In short, a Christian message. Or maybe an answer to the question of why. Why did it happen? Why did it happen to the Jews? This question is absolutely obscene. All the explanations one gives might be necessary, but not sufficient. How does one rationalise the murder of one and a half million children? I had to do everything in my power to submit to bewilderment, to refuse to understand. I was like a horse with blinkers, looking neither left nor right, but rather confronting myself with what I've called the 'black sun' of the Shoah. That was the only way to proceed; blindness is the purest form of sight, clairvoyance itself."


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