Monday, May 26, 2014

Indie Film Spotlight - The German Doctor

The German Doctor is a film written and directed by Lucía Puenzo and stars Alex Brendemühl, Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti, Elena Roger and Guillermo Pfening. This award winning movie from Argentina is currently playing at the Sundance Cinemas in Seattle.

Eva (Natalia Oreiro), Enzo (Diego Peretti) and their three children are looking to begin a new life after taking over a family owned hotel. On their way to the secluded location, they assist a man on his journey through a barren stretch of the country although he ultimately decides to become the newly renovated hotel's first long term customer. This man, a doctor from Germany, quickly establishes himself as a friend to Eva and youngest daughter Lilith who he takes a special interest in.

What the family does not know is that this man is actually Josef Mengele, known to some as the “Angel of Death,” a German SS officer and a physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp who is hiding from Israeli agents looking to bring the man to justice for crimes against humanity. Thus begins a delicate chess game played between the family, the doctor, and those looking to bring down one of Germany's most dangerous men.

One thing I really liked about this movie is how it portrays the intermingling of evil with innocence as the doctor deftly works his way into the middle of an unsuspecting family's lives. Seeing him identify and subtly infiltrate his next target with true clinical precision is both impressive and unsettling as you are never quite sure of what he's about to do next. This builds a tension that contrasts beautifully against the love and caring portrayed by both the hard working parents and their care free children.

Director Lucía Puenzo perfectly balances out this intricate screenplay while the cast does a great job bringing an honesty to their characters that puts you right in the story with them. Alex Brendemühl is nothing short of brilliant as he creates a character as likable as he is scary. You really believe that the doctor is capable of true evil while at the same time you understand how he easily gains the trust of those around him.

The German Doctor is definitely deserving of the awards it has earned so far (listed below) and I highly recommend seeing it if you have the chance.

Argentina's Official Selection for the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film
Official Selection: 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival
Official Selection: 2013 Cannes Film Festival
Winner of 9 Sur Awards 2013 (Argentine Film Academy Awards) for:

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best New Actress
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Editing
  • Best Make-Up


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