A Film Unfinished
William Guynn is professor emeritus of art at Sonoma State University. He is the author of Unspeakable Histories: Film and the Experience of Catastrophe (in which A Film Unfinished is discussed) and Writing History in Film, and editor of The Routledge Companion to Film History.
At the end of World War II, film footage of the Warsaw Ghetto was found in an East German archive. First treated as an accurate historical record and used in documentary films, in 1998—when outtakes were discovered—it was revealed to be an unfinished propaganda film, Das Ghetto. “Hersonski embarks on a critical analysis of Das Ghetto that is remarkable as much for its speculative restraint as for its philosophical reach. . . . Acknowledging the ‘many layers of reality,’ the director creates a palimpsest of impressions from multiple, meticulously researched sources representing both victims and oppressors” (Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times).