All the horrors of genocide -- the walking skeletons, the bulldozer shovels spilling corpses, the flies chewing at the eye-sockets of the dead -- are marched before us in "Genocide," a 1982 Oscar-winning documentary film. It's a warning, a reminder, a lesson and a prayer.
This grisly vision, produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, shows that the Holocaust was not some unholy, historical accident, but the culmination of centuries of anti-Semitism.
A recent rise in anti-Semitism and the ignorance of African, Asian and, yes, American youths spurred the producers to undertake this treatise on man against man.
Two and a half years of meticulous research and documentation uncovered thousands of feet of previously unseen newsreel. Director Arnold Schwartzman combines these with still photographs, photo montages, animation and other graphics to pile up atrocities like bodies. In his 90 minutes of time, he wants to remember all the millions who died. It's a frequently distracting multiple technique that actually saps dramatic impact. But narration by Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor more than makes up for this frantic doubletiming.
Taylor's sweet voice intones the prayers and poems, the eye-witness accounts of victims and survivors, while Welles abandons his theatricality to quietly say the facts, irrefutable, immutable, inexcusable.
Those with the courage to hear and see the evidence of "Genocide" will suffer, but grow a little stronger. GENOCIDE -- At the Janus.