A Film Unfinished, 2010
Dir: Yael Hersonski
I've been going to documentaries lately 'cause I'm kind of avoiding going to see some of the fiction films coming out (so maybe I should see The Social Network (2010) asap; true story I hear). They just all look kind of awful. I only read a blurb about this film (not a review) and decided it seemed kind of interesting. And in the end, it is kind of interesting, but pretty annoying as well. The footage being looked at in the doc of the unfinished film, "Das Ghetto," was a film made by the SS in 1942 to portray life in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw. A lot of the film has to do with the differences of rich Jews (those who cooperate) and poor, starving Jews (those who don't obviously). And for many years these film were taken as fact, for some strange reason. Anyone one who knew anything about the Nazi propaganda machine knows that they were obsessed with cinema (Geobbels doing) and the way they could use it (the flight of Fritz Lang and many other frightened Weimar directors; or even the accumulation of star writer Thea von Harbou and star actor Emil Jennings to use for their own ends). That the Nazi's could use propaganda scenes for their own insidious version of the future doesn't seem that enlightening, or "eye-opening." I suppose the reasons that I found the film most frustrating is how the film was constructed. Hersonski has her own voice-over going a lot of the time, and I'm just not into it. Also, they have voice actors come in and read diaries and what not of people in the the ghetto or involved with it (like SS officers) over the footage. And lastly, they show people who survived the ghetto watching the clips and giving their own quips about what happened. This sentimental slant kind of ruins the power of the images that are being seen. I know what they are, and I know they are awful. Let the images speak for themselves. So in the end, I kind of just wish I could be given the footage of the unfinished film and watch that, because a lot of it is pretty powerful stuff.