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Labyrinth of Lies (2014)

© CWP Film Universal Pictures Heike Ullrich
© CWP Film Universal Pictures Heike Ullrich
Directed by Giulio Ricciarelli

In 1958 Frankfurt, idealistic prosecutor Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) decides to look into a case of a former Nazi who is now teaching at an elementary school. This leads him to look into what happened in Auschwitz, and the apparent efforts to suppress the truth from the German public. Labyrinth of Lies dramatizes the lead up to what would become the 1963 Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, where 22 defendants would be charged with crimes related to their roles as Nazis stationed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The movie gets a little lost in its middle section, as it tries to give the film a thriller element in the main character’s growing obsession with catching the notorious Josef Mengele. And the romantic subplot isn’t really all that effective. But when the film gets down to business, when it shows the lengths these characters have to go through in order to get people to confront the darkness of their own pasts, and when it unveils the darkness still lurking within, it is altogether moving. This film might have some special relevance to a Filipino audience, given the constant efforts to suppress the atrocities of Martial Law. We could actually learn a thing or two about how Germany dealt with their own shame.

by Philbert Dy