Coming to theatres from writer/director Lucia Puenzo and Samuel Goldwyn Films comes a true story of one of the worlds most sought after men in history as THE GERMAN DOCTOR.
This film tells the story a family in Patagonia, Argentina in 1960. As Enzo (Diego Peretti), a doll maker and his wife Eva (Natalia Oreiro) drive to their new home running a hotel; they meet a doctor (Alex Brendelmuhl) on the road. Helping him get to the next town the doctor follows them closely.
The doctor is instantly drawn to their young daughter Lilith (Florencia Bado), a young girl that is constantly teased because she is smaller in size than girls her own age. Lilith is also curious about the experiements and drawings the doctor always has with him.
Eva, who is pregnant, and Enzo have taken over the family hotel and the doctor takes a room. He also offers Eva and Enzo an opportunity to help Lilith by giving her injections that will give her the height she is lacking. Playing both sides of the fence, the doctor plays on Eva’s motherhood and invests in a doll business with Enzo.
In the village, there are Israeli agents looking for war criminals and the ‘Angel of Death’ also known as Josef Mengele. A German SS officer and doctor doing experiments on prisoners in Auschwitz, Mengele went into hiding in South America.
The doctor begins to cause a strain in the young girl’s family as the man they have come to trust may not be so trustworthy after all.
FINAL WORD: Brendemuhl as the doctor is absolutely brilliant! Before the family even meets him I had the creeps watching him watching others. This actor’s performance gives us his keen eye and obvious obsession with the human body. There wasn’t anything outrageously creepy and THAT is creepy! Trying to win over Lilith’s parents with care and charm all I could think was ‘wow, this guy is good!’ not sure whether I was talking about the character or Brendemuhl – now THAT is superb acting.
Oreiro as Eva is a mother who will do anything to help her child. Knowing that Lilith is dealing with teasing and bullying by her peers, the only answer she can grasp is letting the doctor help. Again, stellar acting when you have me shouting at the screen, ‘why are you letting him do that!’ Well done Oreiro.
Peretti as Enzo is definitely a man who is uncomfortable with the situation and the doctor. Trying to make his wife happy, he is not about to put his daughter in the hands of a stranger. Yet, there are moments where the doctor’s charm wins him over, especially the possibility of having a new business to support his family.
Bado as Lilith is completely stunning. As a young girl trying to find a way to fit in, it is clear that her curiosity brings her closer to the doctor than the parents would like. Bado is such a beautifully haunting girl and that adds to her character. She is completely charming and trusts the doctor to give what she thought was only a dream – to look like other kids her age. When Lilith becomes ill, Bado had me completely under her spell. Just exquisite!
Other cast include: Elena Roger as Nora Eldoc, Guillermo Pfening as Klaus, Ana Pauls as Nurse, Alan Daicz as Tomas, Abril Braunstein as Ailin and Juan Martinez as Otto.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE GERMAN DOCTOR three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I have to say that from the moment the film begins it is just intriguing to watch. With long silences and the story being told by Lilith this is definitely a must-see film for so many reasons and least among them is the doctor himself played by Brendemuhl…
The cast is amazing with a script that delves into the history of Josef Mengele that many might not know. The name is popular but the years after he escaped Germany are not. Viewing it from the outside looking in on this family is frightening on so many levels. Adding to the intensity is the quiet hills and forest that become a character in the film as well.
The film is based on writer/director Puenzo’s fifth novel XXY about Josef Mengele who spent years avoiding capture in South America after escaping Germany.
In the end – nothing is more mysterious than blood!