Road Rash Reviews

Destination Unknown UK Cinema Release Review*****

78 mins | 2017

5 stars of heartbreaking but inspiring documentary.

Essential viewing for every generation.

Directed by Claire Ferguson (known for editing Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Concert for George, The End of the Line, Guilty Pleasures, Up in Smoke) and produced by Llion Roberts (who has spent fourteen years accumulating the testimonies on which the film is based), Destination Unknown blends intimate testimony with immersive archive to bring the stories of twelve Holocaust survivors to the screen.

The film is released on the back of Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah) where the film’s central character and Holocaust survivor Ed Mosberg attended ‘The March of the Living’ alongside thousands of participants in Poland last week. Ed Mosberg will visit the UK for the cinema release of the film on 16th June 2017.

With no narration and no expert interviews, the film relies on the survivors’ own words, to weave a vivid narrative of lives stained by genocide. A seamless mosaic of first-hand accounts, rare archive from the time, and family Super 8 footage from after the war, the film traces their journeys from the outbreak of war, through the misery of the ghettos, to the unimaginable horrors of the camps. The survivors share their memories, some for the first time, some for the last, bringing their experiences to a new generation.

We see those who survived in hiding, those who fought as partisans, and those who endured camps such as Treblinka, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau. While a few managed to escape, most had to try to find a way to stay alive until the end of the war.

Their stories do not end with liberation. We see how they had to survive the chaos that came afterwards, and their attempts to build new lives.

The film includes an interview with one of the few escapees from the terror of Treblinka, and an exclusive interview with Mietek Pemper, who helped Oskar Schindler compile his List, as well as a revealing story about Schindler himself from one of those he saved.

To say that Destination Unknown is compelling viewing would be a massive understatement. Although the number of people involved in the Holocaust is well known, it can sometimes be difficult to consider all the individual experiences and this documentary brings that into sharp focus.

To see the bravery of these people as they deal with the aftermath of the Nazi occupation, revisiting the sites of all the horrors they were subjected to is quite humbling indeed.

It is a remarkable feat of filmmaking, with a very important message which must be heard and understood to ensure it can never happen again. It is essential that future generations do not forget what happened during the war and hopefully this film will help with that. It’s hard to watch but thoroughly inspiring nevertheless and something which everyone should see.

Destination Unknown will  be released in UK cinemas from 16th June.

DirectorClaire Ferguson
GenreDocumentary
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Category: Review