LOCARNO – Israel and Germany are co-producing “The Interrogation,” a drama based on the autobiography of Auschwitz founder and commander Rudolf Hoess, held responsible for 1.1 million deaths. Israeli company Daroma Productions says the film marks “the first time a Jewish director deals with the Holocaust and gives a voice to the perpetrator.”
The director is Israeli filmmaker and film scholar Erez Pery, making his feature film debut. Pery also wrote the screenplay, based on Hoess’s book “Commandant of Auschwitz.” He is artistic director of the Cinema South International Film Festival in Israel and author of a Ph.D dissertation titled “The Cinematic Logic of the Nazi Death Camp and Its Influence on Modern Post War Cinema.”
Daroma Productions, which is among companies in attendance at the Locarno Film Festival’s First Look on Israeli Cinema spotlight, is co-producing this potentially powerful movie with Mathias Schwerbrock’s Film Base Berlin.
Film Base co-produced Farhan Akhtar’s Indian hit “Don 2,” and more recently made Sharon Ryba-Kahn’s “Recognition,” a portrait of several women’s lives in war-torn Israel.
In “The Interrogation” (pictured) Hoess is played by German actor Romanus Fuhrmann. He gets interviewed by the Polish Prosecutor Albert Piotrowski, played by Polish thesp Maciej Marczewski.
The film’s synopsis says Hoess is an key character when trying to understand the people who committed humanity’s most terrible crimes.
“It’s interesting to think that the combination of the same universal characteristics exists in every one of us, even today. Do we really have free choice between the ethical human values within us, and carrying out our duties as part of society? And what happens when these options collide and create a conflict?,” it says.
“The film gives a unique insight into the inner principles and rationality of fascism reflected in the interrogations and personal annotations by Rudolf Hoess. It shows his devotion to orders given by Himmler to him, but also his inner emotional struggles with the daily duties of the mass exterminations.”
The recently completed film is produced by Daroma’s Elad Peleg and Haggai Arad and Film Base’s Schwerbrock.
At Locarno’s First Look event, which is for works in progress, Daroma is presenting Miya Hatav’s “Amal” (Hope) a drama about “faith, understanding, acceptance, and love” trough the story of the unusual bond between a middle-aged religious woman from Jerusalem and a younger Arab woman named Amal.