Follow Us on Twitter

Destination Unknown - Review

Destination Unknown

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

AT A time when it has been noted by some that younger generations are at risk of not knowing what the Holocaust was, Claire Ferguson’s Destination Unknown is a vital and important piece of filmmaking that deserves to find the widest audience possible.

The documentary features interviews with survivors of the Nazi atrocities, many of whom are well into their 90s and who have decided to speak about their experiences for the first time.

And it’s as shocking and emotionally devastating as you’d expect, albeit laced with moments of human kindness that surprise almost because they were able to be carried out against the backdrop of such horror.

Among those interviewed is Pole Ed Mosberg, who was sent to the notorious Kraków-Płaszów and Mauthausen camps, and who continues to lecture in replica camp uniform about his and other experiences; as well as Mietek Pemper, who helped Oskar Schindler compile his list.

Both provide fascinating insights into their determination to survive, as well as the confusion and guilt that followed.

Indeed, many survivors are moved to tears as they recall loved ones who perished, while still struggling to come to terms with the emotional toll it has had upon their lives.

Ferguson’s film is notable, too, for the way in which it eschews many traditional documentary traits: there is no narration and no expert interviews. Rather, the film is based solely on the survivors’ own words, which are accompanied by photos of families torn apart by atrocity.

Commenting on her reasons for making the film, producer Llion Roberts states: “I was inspired to start this project fourteen years ago when I visited Auschwitz and wanted to ensure that the remarkable stories of those who survived the Holocaust were preserved for posterity.

“In the years since I have met and interviewed a remarkable range of incredible people whose lives are an inspiration to us all. From the 400 hours of testimonies that I recorded, I wanted a film which captured the essence of their experience, made a contribution to the history of those times and perpetuated the memory of the Shoah.”

It is a testament to the power of Ferguson’s film that Roberts’ mission has been accomplished. Destination Unknown rates as one of the most important films of recent years. It is required viewing.

Certificate: E
Running time: 81mins
UK Release Date: June 16, 2017