A Film Unfinished (2010)
Critic Consensus: A heartbreaking, haunting historical document, A Film Unfinished excavates particularly horrible chapter of Holocaust history, and in doing so, the film provides a glimpse into the Nazi propaganda machine.
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Critic Reviews for A Film Unfinished
Filmmaker Yael Hersonski reshapes the impossibly vile and tragic source material into a devastating record of Nazi criminality.
Yael Hersonski's documentary is infuriating, heartbreaking, devastating -- and scary. It depicts a lie upon a lie.
Yael Hersonski's A Film Unfinished reclaims history, teaches a lesson about the reliability of images and raises unanswerable questions about complicity.
A remarkable new documentary that reminds us of film's inherent capacity for lying.
Audience Reviews for A Film Unfinished
There have been many incomplete films relegated to the dutsbins of oblivion. What separates the subject of "A Film Unfinished" is not its simple title of "The Ghetto" but its subject matter, that of the Warsaw Ghetto in May 1942, shortly before its liquidation, containing about an hour's worth of footage(some shot in color) commissioned by the Nazis that was forgotten for decades in East German archives. For me watching the footage is like watching ghosts while providing insight into the horrible conditions inside the ghetto. It is very emotional for survivors to watch it, looking for people they once knew amongst the footage, some of it staged to give the appearance of affluence. As one survivor puts it, they did not have flowers and if they did, they would have eaten them. So what was the purpose of the footage shot? We know it was propaganda, of course, but without any narration or soundtrack, it is hard to know for sure what the point was since that could change the meaning of what we see, even with the testimony of one of the cameramen.(A neat little trick I learned from Screen Studies 101.) And it is also hard to say what footage was intended for a completed film.(Like a lot of filmmakers, the Nazis used multiple takes.) Some survivors thought the film was made to give a negative portrait of the ghetto while I think the Nazis were intending to give the indication of a thriving and vibrant community to cover up any claims of the awful deed they were about to commit since they were not exactly open about the slaughters they committed.
An insightful cache of informative but sickening images shot within the confines of Warsaw's Jewish Ghetto during the holocaust. Includes scenes staged by Hitler's propaganda machine as well as raw, unedited footage of Nazi crimes against humanity.
The most depressing documentary that everyone should watch.
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