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A Film Unfinished

A Film Unfinished

The Nazi propaganda machine's mission was simple if despicable: Use carefully selected words and images to justify dehumanization and genocide.

There's nothing simple, though, about A Film Unfinished, a remarkable new documentary that reminds us of film's inherent capacity for lying.

Director Yael Hersonski takes familiar footage of life in the Warsaw Ghetto and turns it into a macabre and somehow poetic hall of mirrors. Her ace in the hole: lost outtakes, recovered in 1998, showing how Nazi film crews directed Ghetto life to make it look tolerable. With the help of a cameraman's testimony and the diaries of Adam Czerniaków, Warsaw's Jewish council leader, we take in the staging of a live show (audience members were forced to laugh or else) and an elaborate feast, a cruel joke at a time when only the most fortunate Ghetto residents were lucky enough to eat horse meat. The emaciated faces we see here are walking ghosts: The Ghetto was liquidated and its residents executed shortly after the footage was shot.

We also see some of today's Ghetto survivors watching the footage alone in a dark theater. "Jews didn't bury their dead in coffin!" exclaims one survivor with disgust as she sees staged footage of a funeral procession. Indeed, as other parts of the footage show, corpses were often left lying on the Ghetto streets. In one sequence we see how film crews directed residents through multiple takes to walk past the dead bodies without paying heed. The Nazi suggestion: Only subhumans could behave in such a way. Propaganda works in many different ways.

A Film Unfinished, which showed earlier this year at VideoFest, takes abject imagery and turns it into an essential statement on why we bear witness. The film pulls back the curtain on a deadly PR machine and forces us to consider its deceptions.

— Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

A Film Unfinished

Wed February 9, 2011, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium

Germany,2010, German/Yiddish, Color, 88 min, 35mm, 1.85:1, Not Rated

recommend

Tickets

10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.

Parking

Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.

RTD Bus

Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

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Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

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