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Oscilloscope to Release ‘A Film Unfinished’

Documentary revisits Nazi propaganda footage, includes long-lost reel

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American distribution rights to Yael Hersonski’s documentary "A Film Unfinished." 

The documentary won the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It also played in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

Oscilloscope plans to open the film Aug. 18 at Film Forum and Aug. 20 at Lincoln Plaza in New York City, with a national release to follow.

Adam Yauch, head of Oscilloscope Laboratories, said in a statement, “This movie really affected me. It’s an incredibly powerful film, not just because of the rare Nazi propaganda footage it shows, but also the captivating way the filmmakers tell the story.”

The film incorporates 60 minutes of raw film shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942. The film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered after the war, labeled simply “Ghetto.”

The footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings of the footage.

Hersonski’s documentary presents the raw footage in its entirety, noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing “the good life” enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film.