A Film Unfinished

A Film Unfinished
Item# Osc
$29.95

Product Description

A Film Unfinished, a harrowing look at the devious art of a propaganda film made by the Third Reich, is a rich and well-researched investigation into the filmic history of the Warsaw Ghetto. Made by Yael Hersonski, this documentary begins by explaining how a film found in a Berlin vault, called "The Ghetto," depicting Polish Jews living in luxury among the squalor of the three square miles that made up the real ghetto, has served as cinematic historical documentation of Warsaw only because it contains actual footage of the destitution there. However, by offering the viewer multiple takes of each scene, Hersonski argues that viewers need to remember that this propaganda film was completely staged to manipulate the viewer into believing in a contrast between what fortunate Jews allegedly could have had under the reign of the Third Reich. This is not to undercut or disrespect the true terror and tragedy that the viewer undoubtedly sees on film, but to build historical context for "The Ghetto" as an example of films made by the Third Reich that lied to the public in efforts to cover up atrocity. By presenting the entire 60 minutes of "The Ghetto" spliced with new footage, Hersonski proves the falsity of the propaganda film and also analyzes the history of how it was made and the psychology behind that historical impetus. Because this "story about a film that was never completed," as Hersonski calls it in the opening narration, shows survivors watching "The Ghetto" to annotate it with their actual memories, or an interview with Herr Wist, one of the cameramen of "The Ghetto," for example, A Film Unfinished takes a meta approach, jumping between vintage footage and that more current. As A Film Unfinished aims to set the record straight, it furthers a political resistance that Jews undertook during the war, when they were encouraged to document their dire daily existences through diary. In other words, this documentary is a tribute, a correction of history to honor those who died, witnessed, or survived atrocities prior to their move to Treblinka, Warsaw's affiliate death camp. Informative extras, like the alarming 22-minute short film Billy Wilder shot for the US Military, "Death Mills," interviews and essays by Adrian Wood and Michael Berenbaum, plus a study guide, make this a valuable academic resource. While the graphic nature of this film is disturbing at the deepest level, there is much here meant to provide healing