Photographer

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

A number of filmmakers have made worthy Holocaust documentaries recently, but few cast the devastating chill of this beautifully wrought film from Polish directer Dariusz Jablonski. In 1987, a collection of nearly 400 pristine color slides dating from the late 1930s and early '40s were uncovered in a second-hand bookstore in Vienna. Their historical importance...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A number of filmmakers have made worthy Holocaust documentaries recently, but few cast the devastating chill of this beautifully wrought film from Polish directer Dariusz Jablonski. In 1987, a collection of nearly 400 pristine color slides dating from the

late 1930s and early '40s were uncovered in a second-hand bookstore in Vienna. Their historical importance is twofold: Not only are they the earliest known collection of color slides, but they were taken inside the notorious Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland, by a camera enthusiast named Walter

Genewein, who also served as Lodz's chief accountant. While not a concentration camp per se, the cramped Lodz ghetto was cordoned off in 1940 and filled with the city's Jews and Jewish prisoners from the Polish provinces. It was, in the words of one Nazi official, a "temporary solution" to the

Jewish problem, a stop on the road to the Final Solution. Lodz was also a highly profitable financial venture, a sweat-shop the size of an urban neighborhood where Jewish slave labor produced clothing for German soldiers and civilians; as such it was allowed to exist longer than other Polish

ghettos. Genewein's photos, various official documents concerning the Lodz "enterprise" and the first-person reminiscences of Lodz survivor Arnold Mostowicz capture all this and more, but this is no mere slide show. Jablonski brilliantly brings the past to life, first fading out the present

— shots of contemporary Lodz are filmed in silent black-and-white — then presenting the photos one by one, evocatively edited and accompanied by a haunting soundtrack. It's an artful and highly effective presentation of an invaluable visual record, and offers a startlingly immediate

look into an unimaginable past.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A number of filmmakers have made worthy Holocaust documentaries recently, but few cast the devastating chill of this beautifully wrought film from Polish directer Dariusz Jablonski. In 1987, a collection of nearly 400 pristine color slides dating from the… (more)

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