Amen

Director Costa-Gavras is not o­ne to balk from addressing controversial subjects. His filmography mirrors much of the century's political debacles from the 1969 Z (the denunciation of the regime of colonels in Greece) to the 1982 Missing (American political treachery in Chile). In between there was State of Siege and The Music Box. In his latest, Amen, he attacks the Catholic Church for its silence in the face of Hitler's mass genocide of European Jews. This is not new territory, based o­n Rolf Hochhuthís hotly-debated 1963 play about Papal silence during the Holocaust entitled The Representative. For the in-depth inquest into Pope Pius XII's reign of complacency read John Cornwellís meticulously researched Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. The film revolves around two central characters and their daunting dilemmas: real-life SS officer Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur), a devout Christian, whose discovery of the horrors of the Final Solution prompted him to write a detailed report of the atrocities he witnessed as an insider. The other is a fictional Jesuit priest (Mathieu Kassovitz), entrenched in the Pope's inner circle in Rome, whose repeated pleas to stop the mass deportation and slaughter of the Jews go unheeded. Although Amen is not as emotionally-wrenching as some other treatments of the Holocaust, Costa-Gavras does accurately and intelligently expose another piece of shameful history chipping at the domain of Vatican supremacy.

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