LONDON — “Labyrinth of Lies” will represent Germany as its entry for the foreign-language film Oscar.
Giulio Ricciarelli’s debut feature, which is distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics, centers on a young public prosecutor, Johann Radmann, who sets out in the 1950s to expose the full story behind the mass killings at Auschwitz. This led to the first Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, in the face of great political and social opposition in West Germany. Alexander Fehling plays Radmann, for which he won the Bavarian Film Award for lead actor.
The decision was made by an independent nine-person jury appointed by German Films, and announced by jury representative Dagmar Hirtz in Munich on Thursday.
In a statement, the jury described the film as a “precisely researched” drama that is both “gripping and touching.” It added: “Alexander Fehling convinces with his intensive performance as a public prosecutor searching for truth and justice in the film.”
Ricciarelli said: “I have had so many excellent experiences with this film abroad already; as in Germany, viewers are touched and moved, and often begin to think about their own history. Such an international response to this theme was very important to us.”
Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, said: “People are amazed that they are discovering a true story they had no knowledge of beforehand. This is an important movie about justice and memory, and it is one of those rare movies that is so well made, has a vital message and is entertaining at the same time.”
The film’s producers are Uli Putz and Jakob Claussen for Claussen+Putz Filmproduktion, and Sabine Lamby for Naked Eye Filmproduction. It received its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Beta Cinema, which is handling international sales, has sold the film to 118 countries. Sony Pictures Classics is planning a U.S. theatrical release on Sept. 30.
The deadline to submit foreign-language films is Oct. 1, the nominations will be announced Jan. 14. The Oscar awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.