On May 19, 2023, Claude Lanzmann’s documentary “Shoah”, which recounts the extermination of six million Jews who were victims of Nazi ideology during the Second World War, lasting nine hours and thirty minutes and without archival footage, was inscribed on UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” register as a form of cinematographic heritage.
Lanzmann was nominated by both the French and German National Commissions for UNESCO, with support from the Claude and Félix Lanzmann Association for France and the Jewish Museum Berlin for Germany. His nomination was underpinned by both the restored 35mm negative of the “Shoah” documentary and 200 hours of audio archives of preparatory interviews.
Considered to be a film-monument, “Shoah”, which was released in 1985, is one of the earliest collections of firsthand testimonies from both survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. It was filmed between 1976 and 1981, with the editing process lasting almost five years.
A major educational work that provides rigorous historical information and roots it in the viewer’s memory, “Shoah” has joined the “Memory of the World” cinematographic heritage, alongside the Lumière Brothers archives, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, Luis Buñuel’s “Los Olvidados” and all of Ingrid Bergman’s films.
The recognition by UNESCO of this French artistic and historical creation reflects the unique nature of Lanzmann’s work, which now joins the ranks of the Bayeux Tapestry, Charles de Gaulle’s Appeal of June 18, 1940, a copy of the first edition of Michel de Montaigne’s Essays and the Angers Apocalypse Tapestry.
The “Memory of the World Program”, created by UNESCO in 1992, aims to prevent the irrevocable loss of documentary heritage – documents or collections of documents of significant and lasting value, on stone, parchment, paper or in an audiovisual, digital or any other format. The program aims both to safeguard this heritage and to make it more accessible to the general public. The register now features 494 collections from around the world.
According to the French Senate, the French film industry accounts for 0.9% of GDP and 1% of total employment in France. With 287 films approved in 2022, production is stabilizing around the average of the last 10 years (288 films).
A strategic sector of the French economy, culture is the driving force behind the country’s attractiveness. Moreover, as part of the “France 2030” plan, the cultural and creative industries will benefit from €1 billion of investment.The investment will have three key objectives:
· Make France the European leader in filming, production and post-production infrastructure and adapt training to the new needs of the image and sound sectors.
· Fast-track the digital and ecological transitions of the cultural sector and training in the professions of the future.
· Position France as a European leader in cultural content and immersive technologies.
As part of the 2023 French Government Budget Act, the Ministry for Culture will have a budget of €4.2 billion, an increase of 7% compared with 2022.
Defending cultural sovereignty and showcasing startups among cultural businesses by supporting French creation in the physical and digital worlds is at the heart of the government’s challenges.
To achieve this, the Ministry for Culture will use the “New Worlds” Call for Expression of Interest (CFEI) launched in June 2021 as part of the “Relaunch France” plan. This supports the design and the realization of projects in all spheres of creation (visual arts, music, performing arts, writing, design and applied arts), in given places across the country (heritage monuments, natural heritage and other sites), that serve the local community. “New Worlds II” will once again benefit from a budget of €30 million over three years, from 2023 to 2025.