From Dec ’10 Spotlight Tzivi’s DVD Collection:
A Film Unfinished, to which I gave a half-hearted review back in October, is emerging now as a candidate for a 2011 Oscar in the Best Documentary category, so I watched it again, only to find my concerns increase. A Film Unfinished claims to tell us things we didn’t know before, but the major “revelation” (that the Nazis were staging scenes inside the Warsaw Ghetto even as they completed work on Treblinka) is old news. John Hersey described these camera crews in his 1950 novel The Wall (based on the Emmanuel Ringelblum archives found buried under Warsaw in 1948), and Millard Lampell clearly showed these camera crews in his 1982 television adaption too.
In DVD form, The Wall succeeds in visually depicting the essence of a very complex story: designated neighborhoods are walled off; crowds of men, women, and children, trapped inside, are systematically siphoned into trains; shriveled leaves dance along empty streets once flooded with people. Compressed into a two-hour runtime, the method in the madness is fully revealed.
Brilliant in design and execution, the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto is a horror we will never fully understand, but we must never stop trying.