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Book To Film: Would You Like To See A Film Version Of ‘Amon’?

Book To Film: Would You Like To See A Film Version Of 'Amon'?

When I first read about this new book and the author, Jennifer Teege, and her very unusual story a few days ago, it immediately
struck me that it would be a fascinating film. And I’m willing to bet some of
you will think so too.

But first some background…

Teege’s book Amon:
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
, came out last month in Germany, and has caused a sensation, needless
to say, once you hear the story. So far no American publisher, to my knowledge,
has picked up for the book for an English translation here in the U.S., though I’m sure someone will and it’ll probably come out sometime next year.

Teege is the daughter of a German woman and a Nigerian
father whose mother gave her up for adoption only a month after she was born
and she was eventually adopted by a couple, and raised in a Munich suburb.

She tried as much as she could to live a normal life
though, of course, she encountered many difficulties and for a while was a college student in Israel, and did
work some study work on the Holocaust, which is ironic when you find out where
this story is going.

She eventually married, had kids and lived in Hamburg working
as a copywriter. That was until 5 years ago, when, at the age of 38, she was going through
a local library looking for anything of interest to read and came across a
book written by Monika Goeth telling of her
experiences during World War II.

To Teege’s surprise, reading the book, she found out that
Goeth is actually her mother, and that her grandmother, who she knew as Ruth
Irene Goeth,
had committed suicide.

But the story gets even stranger when Teege also discovers
from the book that her grandfather was a Nazi. And not just any Nazi, but the
infamous Amon Goeth, the Nazi
concentration camp commander at Plaszow
in Poland – the same person who Ralph Fiennes so memorably portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List.

Like I said, ironic.

To put in mildly, Teege was understandably confused, saddened
and shocked by this revelation, regarding her family’s brutal history, her status as a woman of color in Germany, and about her grandmother who “decades
later spoke enthusiastically about her life at the side of the camp commander. It
was a great time.

And for Teege this
is a shock because she knew her grandmother just as loving people, And I only
had good memories of it, but suddenly this was destroyed from childhood..
because I could not see her as a caring woman, but as a woman on the side of Amon
Goeth.

So over the next five years, she traveled and researched
and eventually wrote Amon – a book about her life and struggles and coming to terms with
her family’s past. It’s fair to say that Ms. Teege has quite a lot of issues
that she had to, and is still trying to deal with.

Now wouldn’t you agree with me that this would be a
really interesting feature film or an HBO
movie? Question is, who would you cast in it, and who would you pick to direct it, if
you were producing it?

As for lead actress, I haven’t a clue; but for director, the first one who came to mind was Pariah’s Dee Rees. Just judging from
her previous film, I think she would have the right sensibility and nuance for
such a film.

What about you?

Below is sort of a promo video for the book. It’s all in German, but you can adjust the video to play with English subtitles. Although they’re clumsy
and obviously wrong at times, so I suggest you just watch it the way it is. You’ll
get the gist of it.

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Comments

Vanessa

I do think it would make a captivating film. The story is so uncanny (I've read it in German and wondered to my self the same thing: how long will it take for this to become a film and how many languages will the book be translated into?). I would like to see the film made in Germany though. After all, Teege is a Black German and they deserve recognition in their own country (which many white Germans have yet to give them). There are lots of fantastic Black German actresses who could do this role justice.

sheree

Hello, I am a black American who grew up in Germany and truly believe its time to tell tbe stories of being black in other countries. There are si many stories to tell regarding this topic. Its one of many to turn into a film. Hell, im writing one.

Pam

I would like to read this book, if there is an English translation. It would make an interesting film, if produced and directed in a sensitive manner, and with Jennifer's agreement. It is important especially today as murmurs of fascism are rising once again. Lest we forget.
P

Lea

I agree, Dee Rees would be an excellent pick to play the lead.

Iris

I agree that this film will be very intereting. The lives of the mixed-blood are always not so easy. They will spend a long time to find of who they really are. It is not easy for Teege to have a normal life. However, reading thorough her own life experience will help to us to think about our own. At least, I do.

Donella

As 42, Fruitvale Station, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, and The Best Man Holiday (and Pariah) reveal, there is no lack of North American stories remaining to be told.

lauren

Why suggest Dee Rees? Because she's black? What would she bring to a this story about the German experience? So stupid. Hello? We are NOT a monolithic group.

Ted

Almost any story can be interesting and remarkable if done well. I'm inherently suspicious of "Holocaust films," and that's especially true for dramatized ones. If the film solely concentrated on Teege's experience without dramatizing any of the Holocaust itself, it might be alright. Very few films (2 or 3 maybe) have ever dramatized the Holocaust without either being sensational, and therefore trivializing, or quasi-pornographically voyeuristic. I'm not interesting in seeing another film that exploits victims to get me emotionally riled up.

That said, I can't share the enthusiasm for Dee Rees. I commend her for exploring the experiences of characters neglected by mainstream filmmaking, in this case a black lesbian, and for that reason I really wanted to like "Pariah" but it's just not that great of a film. "Pariah" is schematic, not just its characters but formally also (the lighting scheme was laughably trite if I remember), and I literally rolled my eyes at the ending. The film had this irritating didactic quality about it. I felt like I was watching a mediocre 1950s social problem melodrama, just updated with a new "hot topic" relevant to our times. If fact, now that I'm thinking about it, the film probably would have been better if she embraced the inherent melodrama in her script and went over-the-top the way someone like Sirk did. "Pariah" worked because of an effective cast and affective and fresh protagonists, but the storyline for a film of Teege's experience isn't going to compensate for Rees' mediocrity.

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