FOUR YEARS OF NIGHT
Itamar Alcalay | Israel 2013 | 54 Min. | OmeU
“Am I a traitor? Obviously.” In the late 1970s Jewish photographer Esaias Baitel spent four years photographing a Parisian neo-Nazi group. Having gained their trust and hiding his true identity, he was able to live among the gang members and create intimate portraits of their everyday lives. For years lived a double life – one as a young father with his own family and the other as part of a group of strangers whom he, against all odds, began to like and feel close to. Despite the horrific events he witnessed over time, Baitel managed to portray them as individuals with dreams, hopes and histories.
From this process emerged a one-of-a-kind collection of gripping stills and accompanying audio material that allows a glimpse into the complexity of human nature and the almost impossible coexistence of intolerance and tolerance. The situation rendered the young photographer’s position ultimately complex and left him with an inner conflict he now, over 30 years later, is able to reflect upon. Located between the past and the present, in expressive black and white, Four years of night tells about a young artist’s quest for meaning and humanity.