A film about an unfinished film which portrays the people behind and before the camera in the Warsaw Ghetto, exposing the extent of the cinematic manipulation forever changing the way we look at historic images.
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Yael Hersonski's powerful documentary achieves a remarkable feat through its penetrating look at another film-the now-infamous Nazi-produced film about the Warsaw Ghetto. Discovered after the war, the unfinished work, with no soundtrack, quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record, despite its elaborate propagandistic construction. The later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings, showing the manipulations of camera crews in these "everyday" scenes. Well-heeled Jews attending elegant dinners and theatricals (while callously stepping over the dead bodies of compatriots) now appeared as unwilling, but complicit, actors, alternately fearful and in denial of their looming fate. Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Difficult to watch at times, but it is an important finished product
Holocaust movies have always reigned supreme by the Academy Awards and other film award delegations. However, one can always debate what was really real in those movies or how much was overblown for dramatic enhancements. I am not trying to degrade those films, because most of them were stellar; such as "Schindler's List", "Life is Beautiful", "The Pianist", just to name a few. However, the first film footage on the pre-Holocaust was filmed by none other than the Germans themselves back in 1942 in the Warsaw ghetto. The actors were real Jews who were not aware of their eventual fatal fate by later deportation and mass killings by the Germans. The film was simply titled "The Ghetto" and was discovered after the war. The unfinished work, with no soundtrack, quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record, despite its elaborate propagandistic construction. It was later discovered that it was no more than an unauthentic Nazi film trying to depict that Jews were not treated harshly by the Germans, and actually showed footage of the Jews eating at decent restaurants and attending theatrical shows; even though it also revealed the atrocities of the malnourishment of the ghetto by showing dead corpses on the sidewalks among other "tough to stomach" real images. The intent was to show the differentiations of the Jewish classes in the ghetto. But the "reel" intent was to cinematically manipulate to demonstrate that the Germans treated the Jews fairly and were not responsible for their poverty & melancholy state. Obviously, we all know that is not the "reel" truth, especially when unseen footage was later found that proved that many of the scenes in "The Ghetto" film were staged and various scenes took many takes. Writer-Director Yael Hersonski meticulously crafts the documentary "A Film Unfinished" as an expository revelation on the German staged production of "The Ghetto". Not only does Hersonski presents most of the "The Ghetto" footage, but also of the recently discovered footage that authenticated the pseudo- realities of what ghetto life was like for the Jews. Moreover, in "A Film Unfinished", Holocaust survivors presenting their harsh experiences of the ghetto as a child which even more validate the falsity of the German production "The Ghetto". Hersonski even interviews one of "The Ghetto" cameramen who states that when he was filming, he was naïve of the primary intent of "The Ghetto" production, among other revealing atrocities behind the German carnage of the Jews. There are wide array of harsh truths that make "A Film Unfinished" difficult to finish. But it is documentary that people of all religions and classes should start and finish just for the sole reason to be reminded that an authoritative government serves no purpose, and always hurts a mass of innocent people; and those are the dictatorships that should always be finished. **** Good
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