In this vivid historical drama set in 1980s East Germany, two dockworkers and best friends who dream of escaping the repressive regime are forced to choose their loyalties when the state police promise them safe passage out of the country — if they inform on their co-workers and union leader. (TIFF)
West Germany in the early 1960s. The country is quiet – for the time being. Bernward Vesper takes up his studies in Tübingen where he is attending Walter Jens’ seminar on rhetoric. Bernward wants to be a writer and spends his nights bashing the keys of a typewriter. At the same time he is keen to defend his father, the poet Will Vesper who was celebrated by the Nazis as a proponent of their ‘Blood and Soil’ ideology. The land where Bernward lives is being suffocated by its past. The war has only been over for fifteen years, old Nazis are back in positions of power, and nobody is prepared to talk about war crimes; the Republic is standing to attention. One day Bernward meets Gudrun Ensslin and her friend Dörte. Before long, the three friends are living together in a ménage à trois. But their three-way relationship doesn’t last long. It soon transpires that Gudrun and Bernward are twin souls. This marks the beginning of an extreme relationship that is unquestioning and excessive, a love story that goes beyond the threshold of pain. Setting out together to conquer the world, the pair arrives in West Berlin in 1964 where they become part of the left-wing bo-ho set. When the Social Democratic Party agrees to form a grand coalition with the Christian Demo c ratic Union, Bernward and Gudrun are not the only ones who decide to join the Extraparliamentary Op position movement. Gudrun and Bernward become part of a social and political upheaval that soon takes hold around the globe: liberation movements, student protests and the Black Panther movement in the USA; drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The course of history is inexorable but, at the time, for a moment, it looks as if it might be possible to change its path. If not us, who? And when, if not now?
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
Based on true events, LABYRINTH OF LIES illuminates an often-forgotten yet key historical period in post WW2, and casts light on how, despite the infamy of the Nuremberg trials, much of post-war Germany denied its war crimes. Starting in 1958, it is the tale of a young principled prosecutor, Johann Radmann (Alexander Felhing) who investigates a massive conspiracy to cover up the Nazi pasts of “very normal Germans” who had actively facilitated the Final Solution at Auschwitz, but remained unpunished, and ignored, long after the war ended. Prompted by a tip from a reporter, he discovers that certain prominent institutions and branches of government are entangled in a conspiracy to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II. The five-year investigation led to the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz trial.