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.
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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
The Vatican did not give permission to shoot the film in its buildings. After searching for a location of adequate size for the scenes taking place in the Vatican, Costa-Gavras finally chose Europe's largest building, the Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) in Bucharest, Romania. Some of the outdoor scenes were shot in Mogosoaia Palace, approximately 14 kilometers northwest of Bucharest. See more »
(at around 1h 50 mins) The page Gerstein pulled out from the printer has a different text than the page he is signing with a Himmler's sign. 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]
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This is a must watch film. It's a complex and controversial story, well written, well acted, and the direction is superb.
The one dimensional nature of the main characters works very well - we see but a snapshot of the complexity of human nature and this begs you to ask the question of what would you do if you found yourself placed in such circumstances.
This is perhaps a trademark of Costa-Gavras's work (Mad City, Missing and Z in particular)
It is not just a cold view of the history of the time nor is it seeking to provide an answer to the big question - just shed light on the circumstances and on human nature.
22 of 35 people found this review helpful.
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