During WWII SS officer Kurt Gerstein tries to inform Pope Pius XII about Jews being sent to extermination camps. Young Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana helps him in the difficult mission to inform the world.
In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by ... See full summary »
Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. ... See full summary »
In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.
An unknown Polish writer can't publish his novels, so his ex-wife decides to help him and get some of the profit for herself. She finally finds a publisher, but there's a strange single condition that could cost the writer his life.
French rocker Johnny Hallyday stars as a professional thief just released from jail. He returns to stealing to support his family. After several successful thefts, he decides to include his under-aged kid into the "family business".
In World War II, the sanitation engineer and family man Kurt Gerstein is assigned by SS to be the Head of the Institute for Hygiene to purify the water for the German Army in the front. Later, he is invited to participate in termination of plagues in the concentration camps and he develops the lethal gas Zyklon-B. When he witnesses that the SS is killing Jews instead, he decides to denounce the genocide to the Pope to expose to the world and save the Jewish families. The idealist Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana from an influent Italian family gives his best efforts being the liaison of Gerstein and the leaders of the Vatican. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Playwright Rolf Hochhuth was present at the world premiere of Amen. (2002) at the Berlin International Film Festival 2002 and supports the film. See more »
In addition to the black SS parade uniforms worn by characters in the film long after their discontinuation in 1939, earlier scenes show these uniforms adorned with the swastika armband of the Hitler Jugend, The Hitler Youth, not the black rimmed armband of the Allgemeine SS and other branches of The SS wearing the black tunics of the 1930s. See more »
[interrupting a session of the Assembly of the League of Nations, Geneve, 1936]
My name is Stephan Lux. I am Jewish. The Jews are being persecuted in Germany and the world doesn't care.
[He draws a pistol]
I see no other way to reach people's hearts.
[He shoots himself]
See more »
The challenge for Kurt Gerstein after the war, in the hands of the allies, and for Costa-Gavras in this film, is to convince us that he, Kurt Gerstein S.S. officer, was bravely acting as the "eyes of God" in watching the holocaust unfold before his eyes. It is hard to believe that a man of conscience could actively participate in something he found so entirely heinous. But the amazing work of Gavras and Ulrich Tukur who plays Gerstein succeeds. It is very difficult to play a noble and virtuous man and not become a saintly characature. Tukur succeeds in rounding out a believable character who inspires us to believe in man's innate goodness. Indeed Tukur pretty much has to carry this film and he does. Kudos. Mathieu Kassovitz as the young Jesuit priest is not as strong but his character is less central to the story.
This film is very powerful. In it's veiled presentation of the holocaust it manages to convey the horror with as much emotional impact as any previous film dealing with this dark history. The real sorrow, for me, is to watch our protagonists struggle believing that "if only the world knew" there would be an outpouring of outrage that would put a stop to the atrocities. Unfortunately these good men don't seem to grasp the darker side of human nature that can turn a blind eye. In the final chapter a brilliant plot twist brings home the horror in the most personal of ways to all of those Vatican "diplomats".
A powerful, horrible and beautiful film.
34 of 48 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?