UC Berkeley Library

A Film Unfinished

At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film in an East German archive was discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May of 1942, the film became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. The later discovery of a long-missing reel, including multiple takes and cameramen staging scenes, complicated earlier readings of the footage. Presented here is the raw footage in its entirety, falsely showing the 'good life' of Jewish urbanites. Contents: Lost history -- Jewish Council -- "I might see my mother" -- Flowers, furniture, teapot -- Auerswald's reports -- Willy Wist, cameraman -- Garbage and lipstick -- Waiting to die -- Smuggling -- Underground Jewish archive -- Surprising discovery -- Dinner and theater -- "A Jew film" -- Death -- Ghetto in color -- "Today I can cry" -- Faces. Written and directed by Yael Hersonski. Special features: Death Mills (1945, 22 min.; directed by Billy Wilder; new telecine made from archival 16mm elements) ; Interview with author and film researcher Adrian Wood (ca. 15 min.) ; scholar Michael Berenbaum on A Film Unfinished (ca. 4 min.) 2010. 90 min.
AwardsAmerican Library Assn. Video Round Table - Notable Videos for AdultsNational Board of Review, USA - Top Five DocumentariesSundance Film Festival - World Cinema Documentary Film Editing AwardReviews and articles:Brodesser-Akner, Claude. "Propaganda Revisited." New York, 8/9/2010, Vol. 43 Issue 25, p11-12, 2p Full-text of this article / review is available:Berkeley users only
Buruma, Ian. New York Review of Books, 11/25/2010, Vol. 57 Issue 18, p42-45, 3p
Liebman, Stuart. "The Never-Ending Story: Yael Hersonski's A Film Unfinished." Cineaste, Summer 2011, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p15-19, 5p Full-text of this article / review is available:Berkeley users only