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Gray Matter

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Jun 28, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

From highly acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost 1 & 2, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster)--one of the leading voices in American independent non-fiction cinema-comes Gray Matter, a riveting true-life mystery and perhaps the most baffling conspiracy story ever told about World War II. In the spring of 2002, Berlinger traveled to Vienna to witness the burial of the preserved brains from over 700 children who were experimented upon in a Nazi "euthanasia" clinic. Gray Matter chronicles the director's personal journey as he searches for forensic psychiatrist Dr. Heinrich Gross (notoriously nicknamed "the Austrian Dr. Mengele"), who allegedly participated in these mad-scientist trials for decades after the Holocaust and the end of the war. Along his path towards the unknown, Berlinger meets clinic survivors and other remarkable voices, each of whom has new light to shed upon this shadowy legacy and the nation that now grapples with its own denial. Is Dr. Gross alive? Is he in hiding? Should his advanced age and scientific aspirations be measured today against the accountability of his misdeeds? Raising provocative yet respectful questions of guilt, redemption and the ethics of mankind, Berlinger sorts out the twists in one of history's lesser-known, unsolved puzzles.

Product Details

  • Directors: Joe Berlinger
  • Writers: Joe Berlinger, Michael Bonfiglio
  • Producers: Joe Berlinger, Christine Le Goff, Frank Scherma, Jon Kamen, Michael Bonfiglio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: June 28, 2005
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFUR4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,193 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gray Matter" on IMDb

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Format: DVD
I can think of no better example than "Gray Matter" to illustrate mankind's unwillingness to learn from (or even lend an ear to) its mistakes and that at heart we are merely beasts, malicious and cold to the core. This documentary exploring an Austrian doctor tied in with and most likely the driving force behind the killing of and experimentation on hundreds of children during the Nazi era and beyond contains many horrific moments. Just the idea alone that there exists enough literature and evidence, not to mention firsthand witness accounts, to prove Dr. Heinrich Gross' guilt many times over, yet Gross has never been convicted on any counts causes double-takes, jaws to drop and hairs to stand on end. In fact, the last time Gross was brought to stand on trial, in 2003, the case was dismissed; he was determined not fit to stand trial because he was hard of hearing and the judge had positioned him at a conspicuously safe distance from the bench. The survivors' accounts of what went on in the mental hospital run by Gross are hard to bear, especially that of a former patient who delivers his horror story in a deadpan manner. An interesting point in the film -- one that underlines the director's attempt to stay objective -- is an interview with Gross' lawyer, who charges that his client is innocent of any crimes because he hasn't ever been convicted, and seems sincere. What the film doesn't say but implies is that there is something inherently wrong with the nation of Austria.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is ideal for the classroom. I had to get it approved by my principals, but that was easy. A great resource for teaching the Holocaust. A true moving film that has changed the lives of my students. Great film quality, prompt delivery, and great condition!!
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This doc...is awesome.....bleaker than most...but a differing topic in realtion to the Holocaust. For those of us Jewish...or those enticed w/ the topic...a must, I leave out one star...as I think the flick culd have gotten a little deeper into detail about the why...
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GOOD MOVIE...THANKS
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Format: DVD
This is an hour long documentary on an Austrian doctor who used the Third Reich’s take over as a chance to perform horrific experiments on ‘damaged’ children, or ‘euthanize’ them (an odd term when it often involved starvation and freezing to death) -- and then dissected their brains, which he kept ion jars.

Perhaps as disturbing as his horrific crimes is that, despite mountains of evidence against him, not only did Austria decline to prosecute him for his war-crimes, but the government used him as an expert witness in thousands of cases in the decades that came after, eventually giving him a medal for his contributions to society, and paying him a government pension. Less a portrait of the mysterious Dr,. Gross, and more one of a society so desperate to deny it’s own embrace of Hitler that it will ignore hard facts, and shun those that try to uncover them. Eventually, even at 59 minutes, there are some sequences that get repetitive, and we are never able to really understand the character at the center of the film. But it’s still a chilling look at how societies can have very selective amnesia.
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