Dir: Matti Geschonneck | Germany, Drama, 90′
This chilling chamber piece chronicles the 1942 conference that saw a group of Nazi officials quietly enjoying brandy and cigars while signing the death warrants of eleven million European Jews. The meeting was over in ninety minutes.
The Conference is a compelling piece of filmmaking in spite of its cloistered one-room setting in a dour villa on the banks of a icebound lake in Berlin where fifteen stony-faced German attendees led by the chief of the Reich Security SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich (a smirking Philip Hochmair) dispassionately perpetrated mass genocide.
Hitler and his fellow Nazis has reached the opinion that Germany’s Jewish population had become ‘too big for its boots’. The Wansee Conference took place on 24th January 1942 to discuss the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” or, in more mundane words, to discuss the total annihilation of Jews in countries under the control of the German Reich, in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
Best known for his 2017 outing In Times of Fading Light German filmmaker Matti Geschonneck directs with flair and precision a script based on the actual minutes recorded by the deadly SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann (of which only one copy remains). The meeting is unobtrusively recorded by the only female member there, Ingeburg Werlemann (Lilli Fichtner who made her debut in The White Ribbon).
All present are totally committed to the macabre plan of action. There is never a scintilla of thought given to pain and suffering involved, only the inconvenience and potential side effects on the German soldiers responsible for putting the genocide into action. Once again bringing to mind those famous words: the ‘banality of evil’, Geschonneck has made a powerful and important film that examines one of world’s darkest eras and showing how easy it is for a few misguided men to change the course of history. MT
ON RELEASE IN FRANCE