A disturbing story that seems to be prevalent amongst filmmakers these days it seems a victim is now accusing the man behind the classic movie “Shoah”, Jewish director Claude Lanzmann of being guilty of sexual assault.
The filmmaker, most notably known amongst the French movie industry as a documentary legend is currently 91 years old, and is also an author.
According to the victim, NRC columnist Joyce Roodnat, she claims that she had an interview with Claude Lanzmann many years ago where he attempted to grope her and she feared his prowess and allowed it to happen.
She made the announcement during a television interview where the panelists were discussing the “#MeToo” hashtag surrounding sexual assault victims.
When asked about her experience with Claude Lanzmann, saying that she had gone to the interview about 32 years ago in 1985.
Here's the video, spoken in Dutch which I found on YouTube with just the excerpts of her mentioning the sexual assault. If you click the three button drop-down menu or the Closed Caption button on the video you can add English subtitles to interpret what she's saying.
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Since the spoken word is in Dutch, and the best translation possible of her side of the events is via the closed captioning on the YouTube video (these are the exact translations from the video mind you) which I've also posted below.
<blockquote>”The interview went very well. The movie [Shoah] was just made, it would be broadcast by the VPRO, and I was sent to Paris by the newspaper to interview him [Claude Lanzmann].”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”So there he is, it's a big and imposing man, who is also very famous. I'm being sent there, and I have to do this interview.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”And while he's talking about Auschwitz and Camp executioners, he starts to touch me.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”I'm next to him on the couch. And touching me,is that like this?”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”I called it groping in the article. I don't want to tell exactly what he did.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”It was very intimidating, but he was intimidating anyway.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”He was very famous, very big. You can see this in the picture.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”And he made a great movie. I still think it's a very good movie [despite the assault]. And I have to return with a piece [for the newspaper she was sent from to interview Lanzmann]. I have to return with an article.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”That also plays a role. And I'm completely embarrassed while this is happening. I can't walk away. I have to…”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”Of course I could have done it, but it didn't occur to me. That's also interesting, it didn't occur to me to walk away [implying she may have been in shock, a common theme from women who are taken off guard during such forceful acts].”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”Yes so, I initially didn't say anything about this because I was so embarrassed.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”You're thinking, “Was it my fault? Did I imagine it?””</blockquote>
<blockquote>”It's easy to start doubting, because the man is so powerful and famous, et cetera.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”After about a year, rumors start to appear. There is always gossip.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”Those (((men))) always think they can do this unnoticed. This is false, women talk to each other.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”I heard from others, then I also started to tell, but always as some sort of joke, although it was really scary.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”In the meantime, it has appeared, Lanzmann has been interviewed three times by female journalists from the NRC, and he did it all three times.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”So two of my colleagues went through the same.”</blockquote>
Here's the full video (from the television show) if you're interested:
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A bit more about Claude Lanzmann as per Wikipedia:
Lanzmann has received multiple awards in his career. On July 14, 2011, he received the French Legion of Honor. At the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013, Lanzmann was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear. In 2010 he received the Welt-Literaturpreis.
Filmography of Lanzmann and his work include “Israel, Why (Pourquoi Israel) (1973)”, “Shoah (1985)”, “Tsahal (1994)”, “A Visitor from the Living (1999)”, “Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 p.m (2001)”, “Lights and Shadows (2008)”, “The Karski Report (2010)”, “The Last of the Unjust (2013) about Benjamin Murmelstein, Elder of Theresienstadt” and “Napalm (2017)”.
He's also been the author of several books including “Shoah: An Oral History of the Holocaust: The Complete Text of the Film”, The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir”, and “La Tombe du Divin plongeur”.
Whilst it seems that Joyce Roodnat is not seeking any damages; she merely wanted to share that she is also a victim and tell her story about Claude Lanzmann.
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