8 items from 2014
Written and Directed by Lucía Puenzo
The true story of an Argentine family who lived with Josef Mengele without knowing his true identity, and of a girl who fell in love with one of the biggest criminals of all time.
Based upon writer/director Lucia Puenzo’s novel, Wakolda is based upon the real life story of former SS Officer Josef Mengele, once known as “The Angel of Death,” during his time hiding in South America (as many war criminals did) after the war. As we are coming to the tail end of a long summer still filling the multiplexes with blockbusters of all manner, The German Doctor offers the option this week of seeing something a bit less noisy, and more considered.
Puenzo’s film opens in »
- Gary Collinson
In many territories, Lucía Puenzo’s third feature film – to follow the critically acclaimed Xxy and The Fish Child – actually goes by the name of ‘The German Doctor’. Here, in the UK, it’s called Wakolda, which represents a more fitting, symbolic title to truly capture the essence of this moving, disquieting drama. Wakolda is the name of our 12 year old protagonist’s doll, and is therefore emblematic of her innocence, which is far more poignant. After all, this picture is not about the doctor, as such, but his relationship with the young Lilith, finding a strand of intimacy amidst an otherwise comprehensive, implicative narrative.
Lilith is played by the newcomer Florencia Bado, who is remarkably small for her age, and is often the victim of much teasing at school as a result. However there appears to be a cure for her lack of growth, as a local German doctor »
- Stefan Pape
The subtle veil of horror draped over things we take for granted as good and wonderful aspects of humanity is deeply unsettling… I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
South America, 1960. You can probably guess at the background of the eponymous German doctor (Àlex Brendemühl) who befriends a Patagonian family and slowly inveigles his way into their very heart. Impressionable 12-year-old Lilith (Florencia Bado) falls for his seeming charm the moment they meet, though her mom, Eva (Natalia Oreiro), isn’t far behind. Soon he is living in the lakeside hotel the family operates, investing in dad Enzo’s (Diego Peretti) custom dollmaking business, and making medical suggestions for how undersized Lilith — who looks like an eight-year-old and is teased at school as a “dwarf” — might jumpstart her growth and kickstart her delayed adolescence. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Following the fall of the Third Reich and the liberation of the German Nazi concentration camps, many of the leaders directly involved fled to South America. One of the most famous of those officers was Josef Mengele, a physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Due to his barbaric and deadly human experiments performed on prisoners as well as role in the section process for the gas chamber executions, Mengele was known as "The Angel of Death."
Argentian filmmaker Lucia Puenzo's novel Wakolda focuses on this infamous man and the true story of an Argentinian family who unknowingly boarded Mengele at their home, now adapted by Puenzo as the movie The German Doctor. Whereas the novel is told through Mengele’s point of view during his exile in South America, the film instead relies more on 12-year-old Lilith (Florencia Bado). Born premature and having suffered from several illnesses at an early age, »
- Debbie Cerda
Exclusive: Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based Film Sharks International has picked up sales on two Disney-backed Patagonik titles that the studio will release in Latin America.
Comedy Volley will open in Argentina in the third quarter 2014, while the family-oriented rom-com Without Children (Sin Hijos) is set for the first quarter of 2015.
Martín Piroyansky directs Volley, about six friends who spend the New Year’s Eve holiday together when one of the group cannot keep his hands off the girls.
When the man finally falls for a new lover who does not want children, he conceals »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
The promise of perfection leads to disaster for an Argentinean family in 1960 Patagonia in The German Doctor, a fictionalized account of one clan's run-in with notorious Auschwitz psychopath Dr. Josef Mengele.
Adapting her own novel, writer-director Lucía Puenzo keeps the evil physician's identity a secret for the first half of her story, in which Mengele (Àlex Brendemühl) meets and takes a liking to Lilith (Florencia Bado), a 12-year-old girl with a growth disorder, and consequently decides to stay at the hotel run by her father, Enzo (Diego Peretti), and pregnant-with-twins mother, Eva (Natalia Oreiro).
Soon, Mengele is experimenting on both Lilith and Eva, with Puenzo insinuating that Eva welcomes these hormone trials because her indoctrina »
A Nazi At My Table: Puenzo’s Latest an Eerie Reimagining
Argentinian director Lucia Puenzo once again adapts one of her own novels for her latest offering, an intriguing period piece, The German Doctor. Whereas her 2009 adaptation of The Fish Child unraveled itself with a series distracting narrative flourishes, her latest effort is a bit more reserved, a simple and straightforward tale that manages to build a sinister simmer, even distracting us from what audiences familiar with historical accuracy already know will happen. While avoiding the use of Nazism and the perverse case of Dr. Mengele as an exploitative element, the rather demure narrative only hints at the possibility of the notorious and despicable terrors residing underneath the calm visage of a stranger that upends one unremarkable family’s livelihood.
Set in early 1960’s Patagonia, a man by the name of Helmut Gregor (Alex Brendemuhl), becomes fascinated with an underdeveloped »
- Nicholas Bell
Check out the first English-subtitled trailer for "The German Doctor," Argentina selection for the 2014 foreign language Academy Award. Though it didn't make the final Oscar five, the film was also a commercial and critical success in its home country, winning 10 Sur Awards from the Argentine Film Academy, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. It was up for the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes 2013. Based on filmmaker Lucia Puenzo's (the wonderful "Xxy") fifth novel, "The German Doctor" follows an Argentinean family in 1960 who takes in a mysterious German doctor, who becomes especially interested in the family's young daughter Lilith, unusually small for her age. Well that doctor, uh, turns out to be a Nazi, and one in particular whose identity we won't spoil. It's creepy stuff. The film stars Alex Brendemuhl, Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti, Elena Roger, Guillermo Pfening, Alan Daicz and Florencia Bado. It opens April 25th via Samuel Goldwyn. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
8 items from 2014
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