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Documentary Review: 'Filmmakers for the Prosecution' is a Must-See

Filmmakers for the Prosecution shows how filmmakers were essential to helping the world understand the horrors of the Holocaust.

By Sean PatrickPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Filmmakers for the Prosecution (2023)

Directed by Jean-Christophe Klotz

Written by Documentary

Release Date January 27th, 2023

Published January 28th, 2023

Filmmakers for the Prosecution is a riveting and necessary documentary. The doc captures the remarkable role that filmmakers played in the prosecution of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg in 1945-46. The legendary filmmaking family, the Schulberg's were on the front line of the final days of World War 2 as Americans and Russians made their way into the heart of Berlin and the end of the Nazi regime. Along the way, those filmmakers captured images that have lasted for decades, seered into the collective memory that is world history.

Filmmakers for the Prosecution begins on Bud Schulberg, a stalwart of the studio system whose family was deeply affected by the holocaust. Schulberg committed his vast resources and influence in Hollywood to helping the war effort. It was the Schulberg family who recruited director John Ford to be in Europe helping to oversee the effort of filming and cataloguing the Nazi atrocities. Those films would go on to be essential to prosecuting Nazi War criminals including Rudolf Hess and Herman Goering.

Act 2 of Filmmakers for the Prosecution then turns to the efforts of recovering the films made by the Nazis themselves. For reasons that can only be attributed to insane hubris, the Nazis filmed their horrific crimes. Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's own film director. enters the story briefly as she helps the Americans find some of the most shocking footage in world history. This footage, which you will see in Filmmakers for the Prosecution, shows Nazi soldiers bulldozing the bodies of Jewish prisoners into improvised graves.

Among the shocking and appalling footage is a recent discovery. While putting together their documentary, the Schulberg's uncovered footage of the Nazis first attempt at gassing prisoners. Hoses trailed from cars into a sealed building. This footage hasn't been seen in decades and while it is no surprise that the Nazis experimented in death, it's another thing to see the origin of their evil in such a raw form. Filmmakers for the Prosecution is filled with moments like that, horrific insight into the evil of the Nazis underlined on film for the world to never forget.

The final act of Filmmakers for the Prosecution details how the Nuremberg Trial was captured for posterity. The limitations of the space, the strictures put in place by the judges, and the competition for space between Russian and American filmmakers, each starting a narrative that will be part of the coming Cold War, are just some of the elements that make Filmmakers for the Prosecution a must see documentary, a fiery rebuke to those who would try to deny the horrors of the holocaust.

Filmmakers for the Prosecution is being released by Kino Lorber Films on January 27th in New York City at DCTV's Firehouse Cinema. The documentary will then open in Los Angeles the following week at the Laemmle Town Center and the Lumiere Music Hall. There is no word yet on when Filmmakers for the Prosection will be streaming but hopefully it will be soon. This is a must see documentary, a searing and necessary reminder of our collective world trauma that was the holocaust.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my work her on Vocal. If you'd really like to support my work, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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