Eisler: Night and Fog
music to the documentary film 'Night and Fog' by Alain Resnais
Hanns Eisler's film music to "Nuit et Brouillard" won the prestigious Prix Jean Vigo in 1956, immediately after the film was released. Even though the documentary film about Auschwitz was shown in both parts of Germany shortly thereafter, and prominent names were involved in the production, the score was not published at that time. It was not long before director Alain Resnais achieved international celebrity with "Hiroshima mon amour" (1959) and "Last Year in Marienbad" (1961). The translation of the commentary texts for the West-German film prints was made by none other than Paul Celan. Characteristic of Eisler's aesthetic is the degree of contrast with which he commented upon the two levels of the film, which was shot in dazzling weather in the summer of 1955. Eisler accompanied the film in a highly expressive symphonic style by resorting to earlier film music, and he reduced the scoring to solo instruments (flute, clarinet, violin) for the horror of the black-and-white documentary sequences. Resnais later said about his one and only collaboration with Eisler: "Eisler taught me a great deal about my profession and about film music. The usual rules no longer applied."