Watchers of the Sky looks at the courageous and not well known Raphael Lemkin whose cause was to eradicate genocide. Motivated by Samantha Power’s take on this subject and by interlacing four separate yet similar stories, this documentary moves its audience through the extremely emotional, political, legal and disturbing topic that reviews mass killings from the past right up to the more current ones.
Watchers of the Sky is very academic in its approach to the depressingly dark subject of man’s most violent and shameful action. The film is poignant, using animation and arguments of Raphael Lemkin to chronicle the origins of the word “genocide” and explain how he realized his goal to have the United Nations adopt, prevent and subsequently punish anyone or any country guilty of the crime of genocide.
Director Edet Belzberg ensures a comprehensive, relatable and sometimes dry look at genocide using well-known, global atrocities such as Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfour. For a very serious subject the film is nicely shot interweaving the stories of five individuals, including Lemkin, to create an ensemble documentary. Nuremberg trial chief prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, delivers emotion when he articulates the meaning behind the title. However, the way the film jumps back and forth between the five stories does tend to create some chaos and confusion.