Last semester I watched several documentaries and films including the "The Kings Speech", "The Linguists", "The Ax Fight", "The Birdcage", amongst many others. Documentaries allow use to gain a perspective through the eyes of the filmmaker. It's true. Sometimes there is an agenda, yet sometimes, the footage is entirely raw and leaves you feeling a bit uncomfortable and perplexed. This is certainly my reaction to the documentary, "A Film Unfinished".
A Film Unfinished, by Yael Hersonski, explores the making of a 1942 Nazi propaganda film of the Warsaw Ghetto two months before its liquidation, in a Nazi operation known as the Grossaktion Warsaw. It premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the "World Cinema Documentary Editing Award".
A Jewish Council was set up in the Ghetto by the Nazis, just like it had always been done before. Adam Czerniaków, the head of the Jewish Council, was set up in the inside, to manage what was essentially "a holding pen" for the final destination. He wrote extensively about his role in the film, documenting the details in his journals.
One survivor remarked, "I keep thinking that among all these people I might see my mother walking".
Germans would often show up in the Ghetto, "usually for unpleasant reasons and usually shooting. So when they were filming it was much more positive".
If you'd like to watch A Film Unfinished, it's available on Netflix for streaming. It's also available for sale on Amazon.
Film by Yael Hersonski
Edited by Joelle Alexis