There are any number of unforgettable images in Ai Weiwei’s “Human Flow,” the most necessary and comprehensive documentary to date about our planet’s current refugee crisis, but the most indelible of them all is borrowed from a movie about a very different humanitarian failure.
For 1956’s “Night and Fog,” Alain Resnais ventured into the haunted ruins of concentration camps Auschwitz and Majdanek, training his camera on the evidence that had been left behind. A still ocean of women’s hair. A mountain of empty shoes, spilling through the rooms of a building like a flood. Symbols that convey the scale of apathy and death better than bodies ever could, because the horror of bodies is too all-consuming to allow for any deeper understanding.
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