Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FTT Movie Review: A Film Unfinished

As always with such non-sports things, if it's not your cup of tea, skip.

Here's the most irrelevant lede that anyone has ever come up with for a movie like this: a discussion on the nature of ratings. I took the Shooter Wife to see "Bridesmaids" today, a day after I took her and the kids to see "Kung Fun Panda 2"; our air conditioner units aren't in the windows just yet, so spending some time indoors on someone else's matinee AC dime was a win.

"Bridesmaids" gets an R rating for some type A profanity, vomiting, sex and violence, but for the most part, it doesn't really seem like it should get treated with nasty adult gloves. It's just some gross-out humor with some excellent performances and writing, and it's definitely a hoot. "KFP2" goes through some nice battle scenes for animation and some adoption issues that might shake younger viewers; it gets a PG rating and that's fine, too.

"A Film Unfinished" is a 2010 Israeli documentary focusing on found footage from Nazi propagandists of the Warsaw ghetto in 1942, for a film that was never made. The footage has no sound, and the interesting thing about it is that the footage also has outtakes, where you can clearly see scenes being staged. It gets an R rating.

It's also the worst thing I've ever seen, and by worst, I mean stare into the black horrifying abyss of human awfulness and leave with every fiber of your being repulsed. R does not begin to describe it.

So you see the finished take the way the Nazis wanted -- of Jews dining in opulence, living in luxury, whooping it up for a theater performance, refusing to help the hungry or even notice the corpses littering the streets around them -- and then you see the troops with cameras forcing them past, or making them walk near it, or how the crowd in the theater was there at gunpoint, not allowed to relieve themselves, made to laugh and smile and emote for hour after hour after hour.

Nearly everyone shown in the movie died horribly, of course, either from starvation or disease or in the camps, but a few survived to look at this footage again now, and to share their remembrances... including one of the German cameramen, who was, of course, under gunpoint as much as anyone else, and appears to be as harrowed by the experience as anyone.

It's 91 minutes long, potent beyond potent, understated in its outrage, unsparing in its horror. It's now available in Netflix Instant, a firm reminder of what happens when evil is left unchecked, and vital to any true understanding of history.

I completely understand, however, if you do not want a true understanding of history. I didn't think my stomach was this strong, or my eyes this hard...

1 comment:

snd_dsgnr said...

If you've never seen it, there's a documentary called "This Film is Not Yet Rated" that's about the American film rating system. It's pretty interesting.

Ads In This Size Rule