Film: Another Planet (2017)

May 15, 2018 | By

Film: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a

Extras: n/a

Label:  n/a

Region: n/a

Released:  n/a

Genre:  Documentary / WWII / Computer Animation

Synopsis: Eerie, somewhat experimental documentary on several attempts to digitally recreated the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz for history, criminal investigations, VR experiments, and video games.

Special Features:  n/a




Director Amir Yatziv adopts a truly unique approach in weaving together various attempts to recreate the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz as virtual reality experiences. It sounds like a surreal concept, but Yatziv relies on excerpts and interviews with the VR creators who explain their goals, and sometimes appear as themselves within the segments.

The opening montage of a trio of Israeli jets readying for flight seems like a peculiar starting point, but the fighter pilots are revisited during the film, culminating in a recreation of their symbolic, resonant flight in 2003 over the ruins of the camp. Other segments include a precise measuring and digital B&W 3D model of the camps that allow visitors to sit at any vantage and see the enormous scale of the death factory, forensic simulation by the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office to help a suspected Nazi camp guard remember details in a 2014 trial, and a VR experience designed in 2014 that allows one to wander the camp.

Each of these are incredibly eerie – there’s the stillness of a graveyard, and sometimes perpetual snowfall – but the intentions are rather remarkable, especially the Bavarian design which allows prosecutors to place an accused and witnesses exactly where they say they saw or claimed to never have seen any horrors, and prove either lies or faulty memories at play. The B&W 3D model is both beautiful for its clean design and unnerving in representing the full scope of the sprawling camp, from which its creators are perched on a roof and reflect on their years of measuring and cataloging the site.

The weirdest is a Minecraft multiplayer game from Swedish designers in 2013 (completed with music), and Maxim Genis’ first person shooter game Sonderkommando Revolt which has the designer explaining the game’s goals, the logic behind player options and design ideas, and being vilified after a teaser trailer was released on YouTube. Genis’ game was quickly banned in Israel, and remains unreleased. Both games feature retro blocky characters, buildings, and objects, and certainly act as alternative attempts to recreate the camp digitally, with very different goals.

There is art in each of the segments – the creative choices serve very different purposes – but the reasoning by the respective creators ranges from posterity to obsession, experiential to morbid entertainment. In relying on the distinct styles and the words of their creators, Yatziv’s film also forces reflection on these endeavors.



© 2018 Mark R. Hasan





External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDBTJFF 2018
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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