Rivesaltes Journal | Chicago Reader

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Swiss director Jacqueline Veuve?s 1996 documentary is based on the 1941-'42 journal of a Red Cross nurse in a French concentration camp for Spanish Republicans, Gypsies, and Jews. The film?s account of camp life—the cold, the hunger, the struggle to stay alive—is often moving; Veuve uses still photos from the 40s, footage of the ruined camp today, and brief reenactments of scenes described in the journal. But despite Veuve?s good intentions, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Most of the film's devices are common to Holocaust films, which are starting to constitute a genre: the intercutting of past and present is far more searing in Alain Resnais' Night and Fog, the interviews with survivors more subtly nuanced in Claude Lanzmann's Shoah.

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