Night and Fog [German version FRG 1956]
“Le sang a caillé, les bouches se sont tues,” Jean Cayrol writes. Paul Celan translates: “The blood has congealed, the mouths have fallen silent.” Alain Resnais’ archive film about the National Socialist concentration camps set new standards for the essayistic form. The score by Hanns Eisler had nothing to fear from changes to another language version. But the words of Jean Cayrol, more elegy than commentary? Paul Celan, creator of the “Death Fugue” and already associated with Cayrol as his translator, was asked to translate it into German. His lyrical rhythm, his tense switches deviating from the original text have shaped the West German reception history of Resnais’ film.