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À pas aveugles
From Where They Stood
© L'Atelier documentaire

Dans des camps de concentration et d’extermination de la seconde guerre mondiale, une poignée de déportés ont risqué leur vie pour prendre des photos clandestines et tenter de documenter l’enfer que les nazis cachaient au monde. En arpentant les vestiges de ces camps, le cinéaste Christophe Cognet recompose les traces de ces hommes et femmes au courage inouï, pour exhumer les circonstances et les histoires de leurs photographies. Pas à pas, le film compose ainsi une archéologie des images comme actes de sédition et puissance d’attestation.

"Although they were risking their lives by doing so, prisoners in concentration and extermination camps took photographs and even managed to smuggle canisters of film beyond the camp gates. Yet their hopes of galvanising the global public into action would remain unfulfilled.
À pas aveugles examines these photographs with a calm, sober gaze. Director Christophe Cognet travels to Ravensbrück, Dachau and Auschwitz-Birkenau, amongst other sites, carrying black-and-white glass plate prints in his luggage. The images show, for example, an infirmary, a roll call area, the maimed limbs of female prisoners. Even the moments immediately before and after the industrialised murders were captured by Greek prisoner Alberto Errera, albeit in shadowy form.
The historical images and their present-day locations are overlaid on multiple occasions to ghostly effect: when visitors to the memorial sites pass behind the glass plates, it’s as if the individuals depicted have broken free from their fixed positions in black and white, setting themselves in motion as coloured spectres."
(Berlinale 2021)