Bournemouth Uni Student report: Getting Away with Murder(s)

Purbeck Film Festival: ‘Getting Away With Murder(s)’

The Purbeck Film Festival kicked off its 27th year on the 14th of October. Reporter Adam Barlow attended an event at The Lighthouse in Poole and writes about his experience.

When hearing the phrase ‘film festival’, some people probably think of Venice, Cannes or Sundance. The artsy rich floating around on red carpets or 10-minute standing ovations. While this may well be true, film festivals are for everyone. They are, I think, not only great fun but an opportunity to broaden your cultural horizon.

I love the MCU and Star Wars to a ridiculous degree but you can’t deny the importance of watching the films that often slip below the radar, be that a foreign film or a highly articulated documentary. Film festivals are the best place for up-and-coming filmmakers to make their mark. Similarly, experienced filmmakers with a portfolio spanning decades can be experimental and produce movies that are perhaps less commercial but no less profound.

The fact that Purbeck Film Festival offers that stage for this area is wonderful. It’s a unique event that clearly is crafted with care and love and I hope that engagement with events only improves year-on-year!

The event I attended was at The Lighthouse in Poole. It was a screening of David Wilkinson’s documentary: ‘Getting Away With Murder(s)’.

As the director himself explained, the project was set in motion by conversations he had in 2003 with Sir Ronald Harwood – to whom the film is dedicated to. It sets out to answer why over 99% of those responsible for the Holocaust were never rightly punished. The making of the documentary took years and the level of intricate research cannot be overstated. It is a truly epic watch that clocks in just shy of 3 hours.

The production takes viewers all over Europe, looking over Wilkinson’s shoulder as he has informative talks with experts and candid conversation with Holocaust survivors. It is a must-watch for any History student – it is the very reason why the BBFC gave the production a 15 rating instead of 18.

The images and archival footage included are arresting. Particular videos of the mass graves are rather visceral and despite instilling discomfort, I felt the inclusions were important. This is a point the director discussed in the Q&A afterwards. He had difficulty getting approval for some of the graphic content but argued that if the documentary cut the scenes, it wouldn’t be much better than denying the atrocities.

‘Getting Away With Murder(s)’ is moving, haunting and above all else momentous both in the world of long-form journalism and in commemorating the 11 million victims.