A Film Unfinished

Yael Hersonski, Noemi Schrori & Itay Ken Tor, Israel, 2010

At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film was discovered intact in an East German archive. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Das Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto.

In 1998, another reel was discovered that radically complicated the scholarly interpretation of “Das Ghetto.” The footage, in which glimpses of the Nazi filmmakers can be seen when they accidentally step into each other's’ shots, makes clear the great extent to which the Reich’s propagandists staged the scenes in the unfinished film that came to be known as “Das Ghetto.”

A Film Unfinished presents the raw footage of the latter reel in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites. We also glimpse the filmmakers forcing some of the more prosperous Jewish inhabitants to ignore the corpses lying in the streets. Without forcing any conclusions about what the object of the propaganda film, director Yael Hersonski offers insight into how what we believe to be definitive and historical is not always what it appears to be.

Produced by: 

 Noemi Schory

 Itay Ken-Tor

Festivals and Awards:

 Aired on the Independent Lens Series on PBS, 2011 

 Emmy Nomination – Outstanding Historical Programming (Long Form) 

 Winner of the Sundance World Documentary Editing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, USA, 2010

 Best International Feature Film at the Hot Docs Film Festival, Canada, 2010

 Van Leer Documentary Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival, 2010, Israel

 Winner of the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award at the Silverdocs Film Festival, 2010

 Berlin Film Festival, 2010

 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2010

 Melbourne International Film Festival, 2010

 Planet Doc Review – Warsaw 2010

 Berlin Jewish Film Festival – 2010

 Festival De Granada - Cines del Sur 2010

 New York Film Forum – 2010


 New York Times: An Israeli Finds New Meanings in a Nazi Film By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS | Published: August 17, 2010

 New York Times: Whitewash in Wartime By ARI KARPEL | Published: August 13, 2010


 Support from the German broadcaster MDR & SWR

 Support from ARTE

 Support from Israeli Yes Docu

 Production grant from The New Foundation for Cinema and TV

 Yad Vashem Film Project

A Film Unfinished - Trailer
A Film Unfinished / Yael Hersonski, Noemi Schrori & Itay Ken Tor
A Film Unfinished / Yael Hersonski, Noemi Schrori & Itay Ken Tor