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Argentina Chooses ‘German Doctor’ (aka ‘Wakolda’) for Oscar Race

Lucia Puenzo’s thriller turns on Auschwitz torturer Josef Mengele

SAN SEBASTIAN – Having just been acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films for U.S. distribution, Lucia Puenzo’s Pyramide Intl.-sold “The German Doctor” (aka “Wakolda”) has also snagged Argentina’s candidature for next year’s foreign–language Oscar race.

Puenzo’s third film seems an obvious choice. It is set in the ‘60s and turns on a World War II criminal lamentably known worldwide, who has helped inform modern ideas on the figure of the evil scientist: Unrepentant Nazi torturer Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death.”

The tale of his sojourn in Patagonia with an Argentine family of German stock whose mother is about to give birth to twins – a Mengele fixation – has also built its international credentials, snagging a berth at this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard and selling to 30-plus territories.

“Doctor’s” choice marks the second year in a row a production from Historias Cinematograficas, the Puenzos’ family firm, snags Argentina’s Academy Award submission after Benjamin Avila’s “Clandestine Childhood” was put forward in 2012.

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