Photographer | Chicago Reader

Photographer

Two perspectives on the Lodz ghetto are counterpointed in this 1998 documentary, which combines color slides taken by Nazi accountant Walter Gennewein to document productivity there and recent black-and-white footage featuring Arnold Mostowicz, a Jewish doctor who worked in Lodz and survived the war. As if responding to questions posed by someone offscreen, Mostowicz poignantly examines his experiences and their effect on his emotions and behavior. His narratives are eerily enhanced by dramatic lighting and an attention to composition that's often absent from interview footage. But he also poses for heavy-handed symbolic shots, which are frequently accompanied by music that only magnifies the melodrama. The movie's drier moments are far more potent, as when Gennewein's letters to Agfa complaining about the reddish hue of its film are read in voice-over while we're shown his photographs of efficient laborers and well-made products—images that only inadvertently document oppression. Written by Mostowicz, Andrzej Bodek, and director Dariusz Jablonski.

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