User Reviews (5)

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I watched this movie I was lucky to receive some background information before the movie and a critical analysis afterwards. Without it I probably wouldn't have given it a 7 rating.

    It is an extremely slow movie, probably around 40 shots, without a narrative and filmed in black and white. The viewer gets confronted with images of visitors of the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. Most of the shots last a couple of minutes. There is no narrator, only the sound of the people and an occasional explanation of a guide. For me, this was a very difficult experience. The movie itself is a critique on the way we visit these sensitive places. Throughout the picture we can hear a guide who tells about Johann Elser, who attempted to kill Hitler but failed and was brought to the Dachau concentration camp where he was tortured and killed. During this explanation we see people who genuinely care about what the guide has to tell. On the other hand, we can also see a girl who tries to hold a water bottle on her head. Each of the shots in this movie has this kind of duality in it.The material was carefully picked by Loznitsa to prove his views about these practices.

    If you can make it to the end of the movie - when I watched it a lot of the people in the cinema walked out before it was over- you will have been confronted with Loznitsa his feelings about visiting these concentration camps. These are places where we remember the horror that happened there. But at the same time it is a good example of how capitalism and innovation affects our lives. Dozens of people with smartphones, cameras, branded shirts, food, etc. will have passed on the screen.

    It is an interesting experience, and it makes you think about the way these places are being visited.
  • Five-minute shot of people milling about, doing nothing in particular except walking and looking around. Cut to another 5-minute shot of people milling about, doing nothing interesting in particular. A teenager is wearing a T-shirt with an irreverent expression on it, but not that irreverent. The host waxed philosophical about that T-shirt at the cinema before the movie began, unintentionally setting the stage for artistic pretension. Cut to another 5-minute shot of the entrance to the concentration camp memorial site. Some are taking photos of the Arbeit macht frei sign, but so what. Cut to another 5-minute shot...get the idea yet? I got up and left. Walking out set me free.
  • Sharing the name of a novel where a character (Austerlitz) sees his mother in a Nazi propaganda film about the Theresienstadt camp where this documentary is set, the film painfully and disturbingly observes tourists walk around the camp for 90 minutes like the character Austerlitz did. When the camera is fixed for at least 5 minutes at a time in different spots around the camp, you notice how the tourists behave as they look around, chat, and take selfies. They don't act disrespectfully, just normally like they were at a theme park or whatever, making you question how they should behave in a Nazi prison camp. Indeed, interesting thoughts arose as I watched this film. Though, the film is precisely that, 90 minutes of fixed shots around a Nazi camp with no additional dialogue. It was (apart from its praises) painful to sit through at times. I don't expect anyone to walk out and think it was a great cinematic achievement or entertaining but perhaps they acknowledge its message that could be read in many ways.
  • I liked the film. I did not agree with the previous reviewer about the filmmaker "using" the visitors in any way. He is just documenting, cinema verité style, and the shots of visitor after visitor taking selfies in Aushwitz speak for themselves. This is clearly cinematic work, for a big screen, but I watched it on a small screen, and it was fine, too. I occasionally think what would have happened if the filmmaker took an outside view and showed us how it "should be," what the site should be for these tourists, explained for the viewer - American style, like everything is explained in American documentaries - but this is not the director's style, not his form, so I was okay with it. This film could have been a short, probably better as a short... But then again, it was director's choice, all to be respected.
  • "Austerlitz" blames tourists in concentration camps for being part of a mindless event industry that has developed around the camps. The truth is: Despite the artsy approach, switching camera positions only every 5 minutes or so, the film itself is part of this industry. you will never find this movie in a cinema near you, you will never find it on a TV channel, it was only meant to fish for awards on festivals and even there the audience mostly cant take it because of boredom. the movie not only blames every person in the frame without their consent, it also leaves the audience with the strong feeling, that the director shamelessly uses the victims of the holocaust to boost his stalling career and get more tax money for the next boring project. to be fair, the approach is as old as movie awards, but it shouldn't be rewarded.