Watchers of the Sky

Critics Consensus

Watchers of the Sky offers a consistently gripping look at one man's incredible legacy, even if it can't hope to offer a comprehensive overview of a huge, complicated subject.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 895
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Movie Info

With his provocative question, "why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?" Raphael Lemkin changed the course of history. An extraordinary testament to one man's perseverance, the Sundance award-winning film Watchers of the Sky examines the life and legacy of the Polish-Jewish lawyer and linguist who coined the term genocide. Before Lemkin, the notion of accountability for war crimes was virtually non-existent. After experiencing the barbarity of the Holocaust firsthand, he devoted his life to convincing the international community that there must be legal retribution for mass atrocities targeted at minorities. An impassioned visionary, Lemkin confronted world apathy in a tireless battle for justice, setting the stage for the Nuremberg trails and the creation of the International Criminal Court. Inspired by Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem From Hell, this multi-faceted documentary interweaves Raphael Lemkin's struggle with the courageous efforts of four individuals keeping his legacy alive: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC; Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Ben Ferencz, a former Nuremberg prosecutor still tenaciously lobbying the UN for peace, and Rwandan Emmanuel Uwurukundo, UN Refugee Agency Field Director in Chad. Alternating live interviews with rare archival footage and striking animation, Watchers of the Sky illuminates the compassion and bravery of these humanitarians and powerfully demonstrates the ability of global activism to give a voice to the silent victims of genocide.(C) Music Box

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Critic Reviews for Watchers of the Sky

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (11)

  • Belzberg presents a view of modern challenges in combating genocide that, while not entirely thorough, is a sobering reminder of the difficulty of those efforts.

    Oct 16, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Steve Greene

    Top Critic
  • The movie feels too short at two hours; it offers a worthwhile overview of the subjects but doesn't treat any of them in much depth.

    Nov 6, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Even at two hours - an eternity for a doc - the movie never feels too long.

    Oct 30, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Watchers of the Sky takes on a vast subject - genocide over the past century - and manages to be not just coherent but poetically moving.

    Oct 17, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The sheer amount of information that Belzberg had to organize, and fit into a seamless whole, is awe-inspiring. The pace feels like an unstoppable river, the current of history, the continuum of atrocity that Lemkin and others sensed.

    Oct 17, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Succeeds in throwing a much-needed light on a man whose hermitlike life remains mysterious, but whose legacy will shine on for the ages.

    Oct 16, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Watchers of the Sky

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