The year is 1958. The war has been over for thirteen years and the Federal Republic of Germany is not only recovering but even booming. But where are the Nazis? Who has ever heard of the death camps? It looks as if everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds in this land of milk and honey - At least, until the day journalist Thomas Gnielka reports on the recognition by a German-Jewish artist of a local schoolteacher, a former guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp - At least, until Johann Radmann, a young prosecutor, decides to investigate the case - Nobody knows it yet but this is the dawn of a new era. Even if the road to awareness will be long and rocky.Written by
Official submission of Germany for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 88th Academy Awards in 2016. See more »
The police VW bug has early rear fenders/tail lights and engine cover but the vented rims and flattened hub caps indicate the it's equipped with front disc brakes and thus must be from 71 or later. See more »
You were all Nazis. In the Eastern sector, now you are all communists. Jesus, you Germans! If little green men from Mars landed tomorrow, you would all become green.
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Nowadays, the word Auschwitz has become a synonym for the worst kind of human evil. But there was a time when, at least in Germany, nobody knew the word, let alone what happened there. In the years after the war, German society wanted to forget everything about this terrible period, including the atrocities committed.
'Im Labyrinth des Schweigens' (In the Labyrinth of Silence) shows how this period came to an end. A journalist presses charges against a former Auschwitz camp commander, who is now a school teacher. A prosecutor starts an investigation, but his efforts are obstructed by all kinds of procedures. It is clear that most Germans don't want to be confronted with the mass murders committed by their fellow compatriots. In one scene, the prosecutor asks his young colleagues what the word Auschwitz means to them. None of them come up with an answer.
The film clearly shows how complex the past was for post-war Germany. Lots of people had been a member of the National Socialist Party, without being a nazi by conviction. Some became a nazi because it was convenient to be part of the ruling power-base. The prosecutor learns that even some people who are very close to him, were on the wrong side of history. Still, he is convinced that the men who committed war crimes should be punished.
This is an interesting story about an unknown period in the German history. Unfortunately, the film maker decided to include a cheesy love story in the script. The prosecutor's love affair is distracting, unnecessary and predictable. Towards the end, there are too many side stories and subplots, and the film starts dragging on. At the same time, there are some very nice creative scenes. I particularly liked the scene without words, when the prosecutor starts interviewing the witnesses from the concentration camps. Small gestures and facial expressions show, better than any dialogue, the horror these people must have gone through.
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