Night Will Fall
Va cadea noaptea
Night Will Fall
Everyone of us was hoping that none of us was going to cut that material, confesses one of the former editors of Sidney Bernstein’s film. In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, Bernstein masterminded the production of a documentary film which would both record and make history. When Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camps, their discoveries revealed the horror of what had happened there, and Bernstein was commissioned to produce a “systematic record” of what they found. The British, Soviet and American cameramen who recorded the footage were specially trained to film the harrowing realities encountered so that the material could be trusted as not having been tampered with: that involved, for instance, an emphasis on long shots and long panning shots, as well as close-up shots of the dead bodies, which came against the tradition of combat cinematography. However, within six months of having been greenlit, as the political context was changing in the early stages of what would become the Cold War, the project was discontinued and the material shelved in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. In 2014, the Imperial War Museum restored it and director André Singer retraced the production of this extraordinary unseen film.
Every national cinema history has its conspicuous silences. For British cinema, the file number F3080 from the Imperial War Museum archive was probably the most harrowing one.
The documentary has been adopted by the "Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania.