Mark your calendar: On May 7, Cohen Media Group will release Palme d’Or winner Claude Lanzmann’s final film Shoah: Four Sisters on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
The film, completed shortly before Lanzmann’s death at 92 in July 2018, is the long-awaited follow-up to his monumental Shoah, which shook the world upon its release in 1985 as a profound cinematic memorial to the Holocaust.
In Shoah: Four Sisters, four Jewish women, survivors of unimaginable Nazi horrors during the Holocaust, tell their individual stories. Each of their testimonies was filmed more than 40 years ago as Lanzmann collected first-hand accounts in preparation for what would become the nine-and-a-half-hour Shoah.
Starting in 1999, Lanzmann made several films that could be considered satellites of Shoah, comprising interviews conducted in the ’70s that didn’t make it into the final, monumental work. In the last years of the director’s life, he decided to devote a film to each of four women from four different areas of Eastern Europe with four different destinies, each finding herself improbably alive after war’s end: Ruth Elias from Ostravia, Czechoslovakia; Paula Biren from Lodz, Poland; Ada Lichtman from further south in Krakow; and Hannah Marton from Cluj, or Kolozsvár, in Transylvania, Romania.
Survivors of unimaginable Nazi horrors during the Holocaust, these women tell their individual stories and become crucial witnesses to the barbarism they experienced. Each possesses a vivid intelligence and a commitment to candor that make their accounts of what they suffered both searing and unforgettable.
The four films that make up Shoah: Four Sisters are titled “The Hippocratic Oath,” “The Merry Flea,” “Noah’s Ark” and “Baluty,” and together they remind audiences of the immense courage it took for these witnesses to return to their painful past as they retell personal tragedies that represent the larger tragedy of the Holocaust.
Both the two-disc Blu-ray and two-disc DVD include a new conversation with globally renowned philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy moderated by Deborah Lipstadt at the Streicker Center in New York City.