"A Film Unfinished:" rated "R" for "reality"

Speaking of R ratings, what the hell are those people at the MPAA thinking? They recently labeled "A Film Unfinished," a holocaust documentary by Yael Hersonski with an R for "disturbing images of Holocaust  atrocities including graphic nudity," and is therefore deemed unsuitable for viewers under 17 unless accompanied by an adult. Which means, I suppose,  if a teacher wanted to show it in a class, and the film was intended in part as an educational tool, students would have to drag one of their parents in to see it with them. Like that's going to happen.

The film is well worth everyone's attention regardless of age. The basic concept is intriguing - the director came across an hour's worth of raw footage taken by Nazi filmmakers in the Warsaw Ghetto with the intention of making it into a propaganda film. As the title indicates, it never got finished, and part of Hersonski's intention is determine what the film was supposed to be about. To do this she investigates Nazi records, post war interviews of survivors, testimony at war crimes trials, and the result is inconclusive and very post-modernist.

More compelling is the footage itself, and the commentary of survivors of the Ghetto upon viewing it. Like an image of a young woman in rags, half mad, walking back and forth with an infant in her arms. "She was always there," recalls a witness who was herself a child at the time. "Shouting out, ‘give me bread for my baby! give me bread!"

Is this a possible source of moral corruption for kids under 17? You can judge for yourself when the film is given a special screening by the Boston Jewish Film Festival tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the West Newton Cinema. The director will attending and will be available for a discussiion after the show. Check here for tickets. Or you can wait for it to open at the Kendall Square on September 24 for its theatrical engagement.

In the meantime the kids can go see a nearly naked Angelina Jolie get tortured by demonic North Koreans in the PG-13 rated "Salt," or watch the character played by Steve Carell get sexually humiliated by a sadist in "Dinner for Schmucks," also PG-13.

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