The German Doctor Is a Fictionalized Run-In with a Nazi Psychopath

<I>The German Doctor</I> Is a Fictionalized Run-In with a Nazi Psychopath
Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti

The promise of perfection leads to disaster for an Argentinean family in 1960 Patagonia in The German Doctor, a fictionalized account of one clan's run-in with notorious Auschwitz psychopath Dr. Josef Mengele.

Adapting her own novel, writer-director Lucía Puenzo keeps the evil physician's identity a secret for the first half of her story, in which Mengele (Àlex Brendemühl) meets and takes a liking to Lilith (Florencia Bado), a 12-year-old girl with a growth disorder, and consequently decides to stay at the hotel run by her father, Enzo (Diego Peretti), and pregnant-with-twins mother, Eva (Natalia Oreiro).

Soon, Mengele is experimenting on both Lilith and Eva, with Puenzo insinuating that Eva welcomes these hormone trials because her indoctrination at a pro-Nazi school has left her drawn, subconsciously, to eugenics-inspired ideals. Enzo is also eventually seduced by Mengele's ethos when he allows the doctor to finance his porcelain doll-making business (every figurine shall look exactly the same!), a symbolically on-the-nose development that builds to full-on melodramatic overkill.

Location Info


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

1886 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: West 60s

IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village


The German Doctor
Written and directed by Lucía Puenzo
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Opens April 25, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and IFC Center

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Puenzo dramatizes her material with an overcooked sense of import that generates scant suspense, even once Israeli agents close in on their Nazi prey. Meanwhile, Lilith's hindsight narration, which plays over shots of the villain's twisted medical notebooks, merely further amplifies the action's borderline-tawdry mood of psychosexual ghoulishness.


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