Friday, December 17, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Director: Yael Hersonski
Writer: Yael Hersonski (screenwriter)
Cast: Alexander Beyer, Rudiger Vogler
Producers: Itai Ken-Tor and Noemi Schory
Original Music: Yishai Adar
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Country of Origin: Germany, Israel
Language: German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, English
Genre: Documentary, Drama, History

Yael Hersonski has produced a powerful and disturbing documentary. To achieve this he highlighted and re-examines the notorious 1942 unfinished Nazi film about the Warsaw Ghetto.

Only two months after the Nazis filmed the Ghetto they liquidated the entire Ghetto.

The Warsaw Ghetto film was discovered after the war in an underground vault, with no sound track.

Although it was obviously staged and produced for propaganda purposes, the Nazis never got a chance to finish or show it and the Ghetto film became a source of interest for historians.

When a long missing reel was discovered later it threw a "curve" into the film interpretations because it clearly showed the manipulations of the film crew to stage every day scenes.

Originally, the Ghetto film showed well-dressed Jewish diners and business people callously stepping over the bodies of indigent Jews on the street. When the new reel became available it showed that the scenes were staged and the well dressed diners were actually actors or others forced to act in the staged scenes.

As Hersonski says, it appears that the film participants were apparently taken to concentration camps immediately after they finished shooting the film. After that they simply disappeared.

Hersonski's documentary features interviews with Ghetto survivors and a re-enactment of testimony from Willy Wist, one of the cameramen involved in filming the Nazi propaganda movie.

Presented at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the film won the World Cinematography Documentary editing award.

A Film Unfinished will premiere on television on PBS in May 2011.