Shtikat Haarchion (A Film Unfinished). 2010. Germany/Israel. Directed by Yael Hersonski. In Hebrew; English subtitles. 89 min.
In May 1942, just two months before the commencement of deportations to Treblinka, German cameramen entered the Warsaw Ghetto to film staged vignettes with its Jewish residents, alternatively portraying them as vile, dirty animals, or as greedy, selfish money grubbers. Either way, the images made amply clear that the Jews were a pestilence to be exterminated. After the war, several reels of this unfinished “documentary” were discovered buried in a film vault; remarkably, a missing reel was unearthed decades later. Israeli director Hersonski offers a sober and methodical vivisection of the Nazi footage, setting it in stark contrast to the harrowing reality of life and death in the Ghetto. Holocaust survivors, along with readings from diaries of people who were there (as well as testimony from a Nazi cameraman), establish the truth behind the fictionalized images.