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Amen. (2002)

Not Rated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 27 February 2002 (France)
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.

Director:

Costa-Gavras

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4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mathieu Kassovitz ... Riccardo Fontana
Ulrich Tukur ... Kurt Gerstein
Ulrich Mühe ... Doctor
Michel Duchaussoy ... Cardinal
Ion Caramitru ... Count Fontana
Marcel Iures ... Pope
Friedrich von Thun ... Gerstein's Father
Antje Schmidt Antje Schmidt ... Mrs. Gerstein
Hanns Zischler ... Grawitz
Sebastian Koch ... Höss
Erich Hallhuber Erich Hallhuber ... Von Rutta
Burkhard Heyl Burkhard Heyl ... Director
Angus MacInnes ... Tittman
Bernd Fischerauer Bernd Fischerauer ... Bishop von Galen
Pierre Franckh ... Pastor Wehr
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ss | priest | pope | jew | german army | See All (216) »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany | Romania

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

27 February 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Eyewitness See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 103,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$998,674 (France), 25 January 2002

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,284, 26 January 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$274,299, 10 August 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stefan Lux was a Jewish Czech journalist, who committed suicide in the general assembly room of the League of Nations during its session on July 3, 1936, to alert the world on the perils of German anti-Semitism. After shouting "C'est le dernier coup" ("This is the final blow") he shot himself with a revolver. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 25 mins) When Kurt is visiting an old friend for support, some shelves have modern folders. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Stephan Lux: [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]
Stephan Lux: I see no other way to reach people's hearts.
[He shoots himself]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Not moved but forced to think
22 July 2002 | by patrickgildaySee all my reviews

'Amen' is a recent release examining the relationship between the Vatican and Nazi Germany. We follow Kurt Gerheim (an admirable performance by Ulrich Tukur), a perfectly Aryan, protestant SS-Officer who tries to speak out against Nazi attrocities, and Ricardo Fontana, a young catholic cleric (played to the utmost by the marvellous Matthieu Kassovitz) who joins him in his fight. Ricardo's dissolusionment in the Church (which acts more as an institution for self-preservation than for good in this film) leads him to irrational and useless acts which do not conflict with his morality, rather than to more useful acts which do. The interest lies with the deterioration of Ricardo's faith in the Church's moral station and that of Gerheim's faith in his fatherland. Both find solace in the hope that they will put an end to the holocaust.

This is noticeably a continental European film, with brilliant direction and dazzlingly good acting, more Gosford Park than Schindler's List in terms of pace. Indeed, this slow pace only highlights the frustration felt by the two main characters as they are continually beaten down by the well-meaning leaders of their Churches.

Frustration, interestingly, is the only lasting emotion inspired in the viewer. Dr Germaine Greer attributed this, wrongly, I believe, to the fact that the film "doesn't seem to go anywhere", highlighting the leitmotiv frame of a so-called 'goods' train on its way to an unseen destination as a representation of this lack of direction. I would venture to suggest, though, that a conclusion is precisely what the director, the justly renowned Costa Garvas, was trying to avoid - he does not straightjacket his characters plainly as either heroes or villains and the film closes with the issues of morality it has raised left open-ended. It is meant to be thought provoking, not moving; the viewer is meant to conclude for himself what was morally correct and what was not.

At the end of the film, I found myself wondering which of the characters was most right - for none, it would seem, have a sole handle on the moral high-ground and there are arguments that promote each character's actions over another's. Whatever way you see this film and whatever conclusion you draw, it is a production which will not let you sleep easy until you have been challenged on many issues of morality.


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