From Hollywood to Nuremberg: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens
(54 minutes, France, 2012)
A film screening followed by a discussion with director and historian Christian Delage, organized by the Mémorial de la Shoah and the Northwest Reno Library.
Hollywood directors John Ford, George Stevens, and Samuel Fuller entertained audiences with cinema classics like The Grapes of Wrath, Shane, and The Big Red One. But their most important contribution to history may have been their work in the U.S. Armed Forces and Secret Services, filming the realities of war and the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. Their documentation provides an essential visual record of WWII. Combining a wealth of rare material, including private documents and footage from their own personal archives, From Hollywood to Nuremberg explores these filmmakers’ experiences during and after WWII, their confrontation with Nazi atrocities, and the mark that it left on them as artists.
George Stevens directed the Special Coverage Unit during the war under orders from General Eisenhower. His unit covered D-Day, the Allied march through France and the liberation of Dachau–with the concentration camp’s conditions, casualties, and survivors captured in still-stunning black-and-white and color footage. During the war, John Ford headed the Field Photographic Branch, crafting two Oscar-winning documentaries about Pearl Harbor and Midway. While stateside during the conflict itself, Ford used Stevens’s Dachau images for a contemporary film about Nazi atrocities that was later used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials, whose filming Ford also oversaw. Unlike Ford and Stevens, Samuel Fuller wasn’t specially commissioned or trained for his role as a wartime documentarian. The son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Fuller joined the infantry in 1942 and, at the instruction of his captain, filmed the liberation of the Falkenau camp with a camera that Fuller’s mother had sent him. It was the first filming experience of a man who would go on to be a major American director, and whose 1980 movie The Big Red One would directly reflect upon his own wartime experiences.
From Hollywood to Nuremberg was presented as a world premiere at the IFC Center in New York City in 2012, in conjunction with “Filming the Camps: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens,” a special exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage curated by Christian Delage. In 2013, the film also received the renowned French award “Étoile” from Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia, the Civil Society for Multimedia Authors.
Director Christian Delage is a historian, filmmaker, and curator. He is currently Professor at the University of Paris 8 and the director of the Institute for the history of the present time (National Center for Scientific research). He is also a regular Visiting Professor at the Cardozo Law School (New York City). Since the mid-1990s he has worked on the history of the Holocaust, the filmed record of the liberation of the Nazi camps, and the Nuremberg trials. In 2006, his book La Vérité par l’image: De Nuremberg au procès Milosevic was published in France, and in 2007 his documentary Nuremberg: The Nazis Facing Their Crimes premiered at Lincoln Center. He also served as a policy advisor on the filming of the Khmer Rouge trials, and produced Cameras in the Courtroom, a documentary discussing the issues of filming trials. Delage has shaped the permanent exhibition of the Compiegne’s Internment and Deportation Memorial. His last film, From Hollywood to Nuremberg: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens, has just won an award from the SCAM (the French Documentary Filmmakers Association). In 2014, Delage published, at Upenn press, Caught on Camera: Film in the Courtroom from the Nuremberg Trials to the Trials of the Khmer Rouge. He recently wrote a piece in the collective book, Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, edited by Jason Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz, published at Bloomsbury in February 2015.
The exhibition Filming The Camps: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens, From Hollywood to Nuremberg, curated by historian and film director Christian Delage, was designed, created, and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris, France), and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.
Northwest Reno Library
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