Victims’ Rare, Clandestine Photographs,
Rigorously Analyzed, Retrace Holocaust Events
Jerusalem Film Festival Best Documentary Winner Explores Clandestine Nazi Death Camp Photos
The U.S. and Canadian release of the documentary From Where They Stood (À pas aveugles) was written and directed by Christophe Cognet.
A 2021 Berlinale Forum premiere, From Where They Stood went on the win the Spirit of Freedom Award for Best Documentary at the 2021 Jerusalem Film Festival. The US festival premiere was at the 2022 New York Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center.
It’s not widely known but somehow a handful of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps managed to take clandestine photographs of the hell the Nazis were hiding from the world.
Either smuggled out or hidden and retrieved only after the war, Director Christophe Cognet retraces the footsteps of these courageous men and women in a quest to unearth the circumstances and the stories behind their photographs.
FROM WHERE THEY STOOD was produced by Raphaël Pillosio.
“In contrast to today when thankfully evidence of war crimes and genocide can be gathered often remotely and disseminated worldwide with startling precision and detail, the individuals who took these photos risked everything to pierce the cloak of secrecy that surrounded the genocidal horror of the Nazi murder machine and remain a testimony to their courage and defiance in the face of totalitarian evil,” says Greenwich’s co-president Edward Arentz.
As the French documentarian walks through the soggy grounds of a concentration camp, small white shards poke through the earth. They are bone fragments of the dead that rise to the surface when it rains. Similarly, this film reveals hidden remnants of those horrors. At risk of death, a handful of prisoners clandestinely photographed the workings of the camps and, in one case, buried the footage with the intention of recovering it after the war – which he miraculously did. The filmmaker and camp historians study these messages from beyond, and, with meticulous rigour, reconstruct the time and place at which they were originally created and the events they record. Like Alain Resnais’s masterpiece, NIGHT AND FOG, this film stands as a testimony to the millions of lives lost, as well as to the courage of those who risked everything to send these artifacts from hell.