REVIEW OF THE DOCUMENTARY The Lessons of Survival: Conversations with Simon Wiesenthal
PETER KRAUSZ © March 2015
This review has been published and the film has been rated (9 out of 10 stars) at IMDb, the leading world film industry database:
The full text of the review can be read on IMBd
A number of years ago, filmmaker Dr. Inna Rogatchi had the opportunity to interview and film Simon Wiesenthal, reflecting on his experiences of bringing Nazis to justice after the Holocaust. His own survival after being housed in a Concentration Camp was in itself extremely fortunate, but this documentary reveals a number of previously unknown facts relating to Eichmann, the arrest of Anne Frank, the Raoul Wallenberg case, and other events. Inna has allowed the camera to focus on Simon during this 55 minute documentary, with her voice heard off screen as she asks some probing questions. To illustrate some of the issues raised, the film features cutaways of Mauthausen Concentration Camp (one rarely seen in documentaries, as Auschwitz is the one used most often by filmmakers), as well as Linz, Austria, Hitler’s home town. Inna has carefully interpolated these contemporary scenes with Wiesenthal’s conversations, in a smoothly orchestrated manner, with the use of appropriate music to further heighten the stark revelations. The film’s power lies in the conversations and the way they are organized to enhance their power. The camera focuses on Wiesenthal who unflinchingly reveals so much about the horrors of the Genocide perpetrated by the Nazis during World War 2. Indeed, the message is clearly evoked: one must never forget, and as he often states, it is important to bring to justice the individuals who carried out this mass slaughter. Inna’s film is a welcome and valued addition to the Shoah, and serves as an important record for generations to come. Highly Recommended.
Peter Krausz is film critic, film journalist, consultant to various film festivals, radio broadcaster and former Chair of the Australian Film Critics Association.