Movie review: "A Film Unfinished"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

"A Film Unfinished" is more than just another Nazi movie.

The documentary features four reels of footage shot in the Warsaw Ghetto for an unfinished propaganda film - the only such footage that still exists.

The film's most interesting element is how it deals with the "reality" of the shot material. A series of diary entries and a fifth reel featuring multiple takes of the same shot highlight how staged the footage was. The same corpse was picked up off the street four or five times.

Diary accounts from Adam Czerniakow, a Jewish leader in the ghetto, explain how the Germans tried to make the ghetto "more Jewish" on film - creating a staged meeting of rabbis with a giant lit menorah in the background.

The film also features five Warsaw Ghetto survivors watching the footage as they discuss their memories of seeing the cameras. A couple of times, they recognize certain people in the footage.

Filmed two months before the Warsaw Ghetto was purged and its residents sent to the camps, the footage has an eerie quality. These faked moments are the last moments of real lives cut far too short.

"A Film Unfinished"

Opens Friday at the Gateway

3.5 stars out of 4