Essay on Analysis of 'Night and Fog'

Words: 1277
Pages: 6

“The effective war film is often the one in which the action begins after the war, when there is nothing but ruins and desolation everywhere…”
Francois Truffaut

Francois Truffaut continued on to say that Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog, made in 1955, was the “greatest film ever made”. The 30-minute film based on the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazi concentration camps after World War II combines Resnais’ own cinematography with original images and footage of the captives in their unfathomable state. The film is lead with a somber narrative that not only accompanies the sobering images being shown but both compliments them and puts them into perspective. Carl R. Plantigna’s chapter from his book ‘Rhetoric and Representation in
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The idea of the three ‘voices’ that Plantigna suggests are used in documentary and non-fiction films consist of the formal which “functions epistemically to explain some portion of the world to the viewer” (107); the open that “does not assert explicit epistemic authority over the viewer and does not impart a clear explanation of what it presents” (108); and the poetic which “explores non-fiction film as art and as a means of exploring representation itself” (109). Night and Fog conceivably employs two of these ‘voices’ – the formal and the poetic. For example, the image at approximately 7:26 shows the train tracks that were used to transport the prisoners from around Europe to the concentration camp site, are now grown over with green grass and the voice-over narrates, “traces of the corpses that fell”. This ‘voice’ can be considered to be formal as it is describing factual events where the trains were so tightly packed with prisoners that the corpses of those who did not survive the entire trip, fell onto the tracks when the doors opened. It is however, poetic as it paints an image of frail human corpses falling onto an otherwise