The story told by Janet Tobias' documentary
In 1993, a New Yorker named Chris Nicola was caving in the gypsum caverns of western Ukraine when he "turned a corner and stumbled over some objects," as he says on camera. There, at his feet: buttons. Remains of stoves. A child's shoes. These artifacts provoked further digging, and nine years later Nicola had learned their secrets.
In October 1942, the year after
Like all Holocaust accounts of raw survival, "No Place on Earth" has a thematic connection to many other stories, among them Agnieszka
Produced by an arm of the History channel, where it will air soon, "No Place on Earth" favors a routine docudramatic melange of approaches. There's extensive use of historical re-creations using actors, spiced with bits of newsreel and found footage from the era depicted. But the first-person remembrances hit you where you live, while everything else (including a bland musical score by John Piscitello) often creates the opposite of the intended effect: It keeps you at arm's length from an extraordinary story.