Lodz Ghetto | Chicago Reader

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A relentlessly grim and comprehensive historical documentary by Kathryn Taverna and Alan Adelson about the suffering of more than 200,000 Jews in the Polish Lodz ghetto. The visual materials include archival photographs and footage as well as more recent footage of the same locations. What we hear are mainly personal accounts of contemporary witnesses, excerpted from journals and monographs written by ghetto inhabitants, that are read offscreen by actors, including Jerzy Kosinski and Theodore Bikel. As overwhelming as the film's images and words are, the shifting representational strategies—such as the frequent use of American voices and accents to impersonate Polish Jews —creates a troubling zone of ambiguity between documentation and reenactment, nonfiction and docudrama, that interferes at times with the film's purer aim of simply bearing witness (1988).

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