Los Angeles Times - 01/31/2003
"...AMEN has such immediacy and briskness that we are caught up in the increasingly risky actions of Gerstein and Fontana....AMEN is a handsome period production of fluidity and subtlety, intimate and large-scale..."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2005
"There is an excellent performance from Ulrich Tukur....Handsomely shot..."
Filmmaker Costa-Gavras (Z, MISSING) has a reputation for controversial political cinema, and he does not fail to raise eyebrows with AMEN. Focusing on the Vatican's unwillingness to oppose the Holocaust, and two men who tried to change the system from within, AMEN is adapted from the play THE REPRESENTATIVE by Rolf Hochhuth. It is based on a true story about officer Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur), a Nazi soldier who moved up the SS ranks by devising a chemical method to purify soldiers' drinking water. Gerstein is unaware of the horrors of the concentration camps until he is recruited by "The Doctor" (Ulrich Muhe) to adapt the same chemical for use in the gas chambers. Though Gerstein is overwhelmed by the reality of the impending massacre, he does not turn a blind eye. He informs the Swedes, the German Protestant Church, and even the Vatican. But he is sent away, dismissed, and otherwise silenced by all but the tenacious Father Riccardo Fontana (Mathieu Kassovitz), a fictitious character based on a number of priests who fought against the Holocaust. Father Riccardo takes life-threatening risks in a fruitless effort to convince the cardinal (Michel Duchaussoy) and the Pope (Marcel Iures) to rise above their fears of Nazi retribution.
Nazi Germany |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
Theatrical release: January 24, 2003 (NY) January 31, 2003 (LA)