Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Yael Hersonski's powerful documentary achieves a remarkable feat through its penetrating look at another film-the now-infamous Nazi-produced film about the Warsaw Ghetto. Discovered after the war, the unfinished work, with no soundtrack, quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record, despite its elaborate propagandistic construction. The later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings, showing the manipulations of camera crews in these "everyday" scenes. Well-heeled Jews attending elegant dinners and theatricals (while callously stepping over the dead bodies of compatriots) now appeared as unwilling, but complicit, actors, alternately fearful and in denial of their looming fate. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Hersonski quietly and insistently unravels reality from "reality"; her commitment to archival authenticity is its own tribute to those no longer able to testify.
  2. A profoundly unnerving historical document.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    It stands as a unique film-within-a-film, of significance for the historical value of the raw images, the memories they spur and internal evidence of how the Nazis staged scenes long assumed to be real.
  4. 90
    The imperatives of history are manifold, and this film is among the most urgent of them. You cannot look, and you must look: This happened. They were human beings. All of them.
  5. 88
    Extremely unsettling and thought- provoking.
  6. Hersonski enriches this evidence by bringing in survivors of the ghetto, who tell stories of life there while watching the film themselves.
  7. Just when we thought there were no new twists to the story of the Warsaw Ghetto comes this documentary: focused, sorrowful and revelatory.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 2 out of 4
  1. Dec 12, 2010
    10
    Poetic as it is probing, illuminating as it is moving, this astonishing Holocaust documentary uses newly found archive footage to show the day-to-day horror, strife, and heroism among the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. And because the footage was intended as the centerpiece of a never-completed Nazi propaganda 'documentary,' it also shows with damning clarity the filmmakers' original evil intention to contrast the decadent lives of luxury supposedly lived by a handful of affluent Jews (all in ludicrously staged fictional footage) with the desperate and impoverished lives of their fellow citizens. Adding to the film's overwhelming power are the faces and words of survivors as they watch this document of a long-ago but never forgotten part of their lives; long-lost family, friends, and neighbors captured forever on film. Truly extraordinary. Expand
  2. Jul 3, 2011
    8
    What is advertised as a shocking tail of a propaganda film is more or less a telling of the day to day life at the Warsaw Ghetto. I just wish the filmmakers understood how golden the stories and relationships of the survivors to the ghetto were. At times it feels as though the documentary is trying to be more of a conspiracy piece, placing twists and turns that are way to knowledgeable to the viewer to gain the gasps that they are working for. Expand
  3. Sep 24, 2010
    0
    Um... I did not get a good vibe out of James Steal.

    How can anyone with any kind of intelligence disbelieve the voluminous evidence
    regarding the biggest nightmare in human history? Some people's stupidity is awe-inspiring. Expand

See all 4 User Reviews

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