‘No Place on Earth’ suffers from tunnel vision

Spelunker Chris Nicola in a scene from “No Place on Earth.”
Spelunker Chris Nicola in a scene from “No Place on Earth.”Credit: Magnolia Pictures

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No Place on Earth

As noted by New York spelunker Chris Nicola in Janet Tobias’s fascinating but frustrating documentary, “No Place on Earth,” throughout history people have believed that demons dwell in caves. But Holocaust survivor Esther Stermer, whose memoir is quoted extensively in the film, does not agree. The real demons are the ones on the surface, she says.

Tobias tries to combine their two stories — the first about a man who, in the course of exploring his own family roots, stumbles on evidence of another family’s incredible ordeal, the other about the courage and resolve of people determined to survive an invader’s barbarism and their neighbors’ treachery. Unfortunately, she fails to probe deep enough to confront the darker connections between the two.

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