German sales outlet Deckert Distribution has acquired Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe’s “Anamnesis,” ahead of its world premiere in the Forum strand of the Berlinale.

The making of “Anamnesis” started when the two directors first meet Stefan S. in 2015, in the therapy ward of Brandenburg Prison. Their first impression is that of a polite, shy man. A warder tells them that the prisoner is an ice-cold woman-killer.

Wright and Kolbe decide to follow him through the last four years of his prison term. Stefan completes the modules of the therapy program, one of the most progressive in Europe for the treatment of violent criminals and sex offenders.

As his release approaches, Wright and Kolbe ask themselves some uncomfortable questions: Can anyone really know what is going on inside this man? What can we really understand of his crime? How effective can any treatment for toxic masculinity be, in this world behind bars? And what are they really doing with this difficult protagonist?

As Stefan S. does not want to be recognizable in the film, Wright and Kolbe move scenes they have shot into a theater space and the part of the protagonist is taken by a puppet, manipulated by two female puppeteers.

Kolbe and Wright told Variety: “Our protagonist is a murderer, a sex offender. We followed him for more than four years, but to this day he is as opaque to us as a puppet. Does Stefan S. pose a danger, now he has been released? After this film we are left with a feeling of unease. That is linked to our powerlessness. What can we really know about ourselves and, in particular, about others? Confronted with our conceptions of what is ‘evil,’ we see that our options are limited: we can only show faith, and live with it.”

Heino Deckert from Deckert Distribution commented: “For me, Chris and Stefan have been among the best documentarians in Germany for years. Unlike other filmmaking duos, they don’t try to speak with ‘one voice,’ but stage their films as a dialogue.”

“Anamnesis” was produced by Ma.ja.de Filmproduktion in co-production with ZDF/3sat.