Thursday, January 6, 2011

Emotional impressions of A Film Unfinished

I recently had the chance to see the just released movie “A Film Unfinished” at the Glenwood Theatre. Because of my commitment to the subject of the Holocaust I have seen many, many movies on this subject. However, this movie was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to watch.

For those of you that don’t know the movie, it features four film reels that are all titled “Das Ghetto.” They weren’t found all together and the most recent one was Reel #4 found in 1995. Hidden away in an underground vault in East Germany, “Das Ghetto” chronicles 30 days of filming in the Warsaw Ghetto. The film was done by the Nazis to use as propaganda.

After reel #2, I realized that we were going to go through all of the reels, all four of them. I wasn’t really sure that I could sit through all four reels. To watch the black and white footage and realize that you were seeing human beings that more than likely were dead three months after filming was very disconcerting and disturbing. Not to mention the fact that the producer kept showing you four survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto watching the film at the same time you were. The light of the film reflected off their faces as they cried and grimaced at the images that were real to them some 60 years ago.

The most memorable line of the entire film was given by one of these women survivors. As she watched the corpses thrown down a slide into a pit and the Nazi cameraman change position in the pit to get a better angle she said “I can’t watch this now. I’m human now and I can’t watch these scenes.” For the entire 88 minutes of this film you kept thinking to yourself “How could you live in this place and be sane?” or “You would have had to feel like you dropped through a black hole and were without a doubt in hell or in a psychotic state of hell.” The survivor’s statement made me realize that you did go into another dimension in the Warsaw Ghetto and in that dimension you weren’t human. Plain and simple, humans could not have survived this experience. The only way to survive was to morph into an inhuman state.

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