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
Labyrinth of Lies is an insight into the price of silence and denial.
The silence in this case surrounds the atrocities committed by ordinary people at Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The silence is an enforced one where people who dare raise their voice in opposition face denial and even condemnation.
The team of German lawyers operating out of what was, at the time, West Germany, face silent opposition that extends to people within the criminal justice system. Their efforts to investigate the Auschwitz war crimes meet with objections that, typically, try to explain away the atrocities as an unfortunate by product of war, that should be forgotten.
This film is based on a true story and its worth noting up front its a harrowing watch. Much of what you hear will stay with you long after the film has ended. That said, it also affirms the need for us all to refuse to stay silent in the face of hatred and political extremism.
Its a very relevant film too, because many of the political and racial attitudes found in this film don't go away. Indeed, as we are seeing today, systems of apartheid and Fascism are still very much in currency.
This film is in German so it does have subs. That said, its so capably directed, the acting of such a high standard and its subject presented in such a simple but deeply moving manner, that this really does not matter. A superb film everyone should see. Ten out of ten from me.
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