After the Truth
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This powerful, award-winning German film tells the story of one of the greatest challenges the legal system has ever faced. Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous Angel of Death in Auschwitz, and one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, turns himself in after 30 years in hiding to tell his truth to the world. Thus ensues a battle between conscience and evil...
After the Truth presents us with Mengeles hypothetical trial, which forces us to review his guilt, especially in the context of the wider attitudes towards the dignity of human life in German society. The responsibility of our sense of right and wrong is mirrored in the film by attorney Peter Rohm, whose idealistic belief in the legal system conflicts heavily with his emotional resistance to defending such a monster. The viewer is presented with Josef Mengele the man, flesh and blood, and must hear him out as he quite emotionally yet rationally states the reasons for his work, and his supposed mercy that he imposed on his patients. At the very least the viewer must consider the man, monster or not, and his motives.
German with English and Spanish subtitles.
Winner of the 2000 Brussells International Film Festival for Best Actor (Gotz George)
Winner of the 2000 Aubagne International Film Festival for Best Director and Jury Prize
Winner of the 2000 Valenciennes International Film Festival for Jury Prize
SPECIAL FEATURES: 16 page booklet by Christopher and Kathleen Riley, the screenwriters of After the Truth, and directors of the Act One writing program DVD audio commentary track by screenwriters Christopher and Kathleen Riley.
Utterly engrossing, provocative and impeccably acted.
Detroit Free Press
Courageous and smart. High octane.
A gripping and often surprising moving slice of entertainment.
Utterly engrossing, provocative and impeccably acted. --Detroit Free Press
Courageous and smart. High octane. --Rolling Stone
A gripping and often surprising moving slice of entertainment. --Variety
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Some years ago (probably about twenty years ago so that I don't remember all the details) I was was having a discussion at work with a Czech friend of mine and I mentioned Mengele. My friend said that some years before he had been discussing Mengele with some medical men and that they had told him that Mengele was a bad example to choose as an example of a really evil man. They explained that many of the things Mengele had done were things that medical men might do or would like to do if given the chance.
Some years ago I remember hearing of a baby being bred for spare parts for its sibling. I was outraged that a surgeon in the USA had been allowed to take a chunk out of the new arrival's arm to be inserted into its sibling's arm. What right has anybody got to take chunks out of another human being without informed consent? Moreover, if you read the book "Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans by Vivien Spitz (1 Jan 2005) you see that some of the Nazi doctors were executed for doing things that were the same as or close to some things being done currently by some US surgeons. In "Doctors from Hell" there is a ghastly picture of legs and whole arms (including parts of shoulders) lying in a box. As far as I remember these were meant for patching up wounded German soldiers. Clearly the original owners were not asked for their consent to have limbs taken off them.
There has been talk (in the part of the country in which I live) of allowing (by default) doctors to take parts out of a deceased person unless that person has told the authorities quite specifically that he/she does not consent to organs being removed when declared as being dead. As far as I know the current situation is that we have to give specific written consent before we can be used as spare parts, so we are encouraged to give consent in some medical claim forms. One can only hope that we will keep on being encouraged.
Incidentally, in the last few months I heard a claim that one doctor in the country in which I live had stated that newborn babies are not human beings.
I think that this interesting film is not relevant solely to past history but also in certain ways to the world in which we now live. Medical advances may make it harder and harder for doctors (particularly surgeons) to act ethically.
That having been achieved, the viewer is left in an unexpected quandry: whose truth will you accept in this day of 'your truth and my truth' relativism? It turns out that Doctor
Mengele was way ahead of his time. He had no problem with the Jews nor was he a Nazi, really.
He was just a misunderstood scientist who found himself able to do good in a bad situation. So what's the problem? Go and find out.
Curious photographic focus problems will not spoil your viewing.