Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein

The Last ‘Elder’ Of Terezin

Claude Lanzmann’s portrait of Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein is more advocacy than his previous Shoah works.
09/23/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

A few years ago, it was noted in this space that the heroic age of  modernism in film, with its accompanying epic running times, had ended with the 1980s. However, it would appear that two of the world’s greatest documentary filmmakers, Claude Lanzmann and Frederick Wiseman, didn’t get the memo. Their new films, part of this year’s New York Film Festival, which kicks off on Sept. 27, are 218 and 244 minutes long, respectively. While neither Lanzmann’s “The Last of the Unjust” nor Wiseman’s “At Berkeley” are among the directors’ best work, each film has considerable merit, raises deeply troubling issues and rewards the patient and attentive viewer. (See Jewish Week website, thejewishweek.com, for review of Wiseman’s “At Berkeley.”)

Lanzmann, left, and Murmelstein in scene from “The Last of the Unjust.”
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