Sound: C+ Extras: C- Film: B
Another solid piece of work by The Simon Wiesenthal
Institute and director Arnold Schwartzman covering The Holocaust Years is Liberation
(1994), which has some overlap with Genocide (1981, reviewed elsewhere
on this site) that is obviously unavoidable, but still manages to offer plenty
of new perspective on events towards the end of the war and end of all the
Concentration Camps that were built by The Nazis.
This time, Sir Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart, Miriam
Margolyes, Whoopi Goldberg and Jean Bont narrate the 100-minutes-long work,
which does not keep the focus Orson Welles & Elizabeth Taylor manage on Genocide,
but does continue to document the atrocities in detail. Of course, the shock is not as immediately
shocking, but this is so well done as to make sure no desensitivity takes root
by a strategy of consistency and explaining things the long way, as well as to
their relation with each other.
The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is clear enough, with the
usual variance between old and new footage, stills and other graphics. For 1994, this could have looked older, but
does not. This was one of the first
documentaries ever to enjoy the luxury of being released with a DTS soundtrack,
which this one was exclusively, to its credit.
Unfortunately, the DVD is not DTS and despite a Dolby Digital 5.1 and
2.0 mixes, never has the punch you might expect. It is a very clean and clear recording, so that helps, but there
are no Pro Logic surrounds to speak of on the 2.0 and little more on the 5.1
mix. Extras include a trailer for this
and four other related Koch DVDs and a brief piece on the Wiesenthal Institute
that gives us some valuable perspective.
Liberation is a very worthy continuance of Genocide and
stands up very well a decade later, so catch it.
- Nicholas Sheffo