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.
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
When you watch this film, you will be told multiple times that the purpose of the film is unknown. Yet, when you listen to the description of how the film was made, and consider that propaganda was the intent of the film, I think that the purpose is understandable. Imagine that the film portrays not a controlled situation, rather an isolated situation; for, the Nazi presentation of the film would not have portrayed the situation as having been staged or controlled, rather the Nazi presentation would have purported to merely show Jews living in isolation from the outside world. The Nazi presentation would pretend to show how Jews interacted socially and economically when living together and establishing their own system of order. The Nazi presentation would pretend to show that the Jews were obviously unwilling to let go of one organizing principle no matter how bad things got, that organizing principle is capitalism. Remember, Nazi is National Socialism. And, Hitler had his own brand of "social justice", to wit, to return to Germans that which had been taken from them by the allegedly reprobate capitalist Jews. Now, imagine this film as a vehicle for advancing Hilter's brand of social justice and national socialism. As a Nazi, one could view this film footage and be permitted to feel satisfaction that the Jews were beyond redemption and meriting extinction in their inherent callous capitalist ways. Such is the original raw film's two fisted Nazi attack on both capitalism and the Jews. Think about it.
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