Directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, voiceover from Judi Dench.
The documentary is a much-neglected part of modern cinematic culture, with makers frequently unable to get distribution deals for their work. Whether this is because of public resistance to the form, or their perceived lack of profitability, 'Into The Arms Of Strangers' shows that this approach is not only short-sighted, it is also short-changing the cinema-going public.
Narrated by Judi Dench, 'Into The Arms of Strangers' tells the story of the Kindertransport, a train that spirited Jewish children away from Nazi Germany to Britain, before war broke out. It recounts their harrowing journey, their life during the war without their parents, and their reflections sixty years on.
It is a compelling piece of work, which eschews cheap emotion for harrowing first-hand accounts of the trip. The sheer diversity of tales is remarkable, and a credit to the researchers and director. Children who to this day resent having been sent away by their parents and those who found a surrogate family in England present their testimony on a neglected episode in Jewish and European history.
It is a cinematic piece with production and direction best suited to the big screen, particularly the striking images of Jackbooted Nazis invading Czechoslovakia, or burning down a mosque. The sound of their boots striking their ground with a cold, metallic rasp fills your head, as you are briefly given a sight, and sound, of our shared legacy. Judi Dench's voice-over, combined with detailed reconstruction, take the audience as far into the experience as is possible.
'Into the Arms of Strangers' is a timely reminder of the dangers of religious intolerance and the brutality of war, its strength is in the testimony of those who experienced these events first hand. Given the age of the survivors, this is something that becomes more difficult to do with each passing year.