Most people’s first experiences with the Holocaust came via Steven Spielberg or Roman Polanski with “Schindler’s List” or “The Pianist,” both stunningly good films in their own right. But still, those are true stories merely dramatized for Hollywood.
“A Film Unfinished” presents a different view of the Holocaust: real documentary footage recently uncovered in German archives after nearly fifty years. There is something incredibly unsettling about seeing real victims on film because the sickening reality remains that many probably did not survive 1945.
“A Film Unfinished” features documentary footage intended for a Nazi propaganda film that would portray the Warsaw Ghetto, notorious in history for its rampant diseases and cramped conditions, as a place of privilege and luxury, a place where Jews were lucky to be.
Also featured are reenactments of an interview with one of the German cameramen and reactions of Jewish survivors of the ghetto, many of whom watch through shut eyes as they fear seeing someone they once knew. The footage is dehumanizing yet utterly personal and far more effective than any Hollywood film could ever be.
Nothing in the film is particularly groundbreaking but somehow it is worse when compared to seeing scenes from a Hollywood film like “The Pianist” or “Schindler’s List.”
“A Film Unfinished” is not for the faint of heart as it is very graphic and at times sickening, but its importance as a historical record far outweighs the disturbing aspects of the film. It is a must-see for both the World War II expert and the historical neophyte.
Rating: 3/4 stars
Directed By: Yael Hersonski
MPAA Rating: Unrated