The Labyrinth of Lies is the first long feature film of director Giulio Ricciarelli. The 122 minutes historical drama is based on a true story. It celebrated its Première at the Festival of Toronto in September and was later shown at the Zurich Film Festival as an European Première. The film is now in theaters in Germany and in the German speaking part of Switzerland.
In 1958 in Frankfurt a young prosecutor Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) decides to go after the SS soldiers, who had committed crimes in Auschwitz. He had heard a journalist, Thomas Gnielka (André Szmanski) talk about his friend Simon Kirsch (Johannes Krisch). Krisch was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The path to find the criminals and to bring them to justice was not easy but Radmann had the support of the State General prosecutor Fritz Bauer (Gert Voss).
About the film:
The movie was filmed in 47 days (end of September to the beginning of December 2013) in Frankfurt and Munich. The screenplay was co written by Elisabeth Bartel and the film director Giulio Ricciarelli. Bartel thought this theme would have potential for a good film. While some films had been made about the Nuremberg trials, no movie had been made about the Frankfurt trials. Moreover in 1958 not many people had heard about Auschwitz.
In 2010 during her research Elisabeth Bartel met a historian, Werner Renz from the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt. Bartel went with her idea to Sabine Lamby, one of the producers of the film. It took 5 years of preparation to make the film as much as long as it took to prepare the Frankfurt trials. The co-producer Jakob Claussen came in 2011 on the demand of Lamby.
Claussen chose to play Johann Radmann, Alexander Fehling. He knew him since the movie “13 Semester” and was very impressed with his acting. Alexander Fehling was honored to play this role as he said it was time for this story to be told. He researched a lot about the topic, the 1950’s and read the biography of Fritz Bauer. He also met with the prosecutor of the case, Gerhard Wiese. In reality there were 3 lawyers: Joachim Kügler, Georg Friedrich Vogel and Gerhard Wiese.
For Uli Putz it was important that the movie touches the viewer, that it is fun to watch and that one goes back home knowing more than before.
About the trials:
The Frankfurt trials lasted 183 days from December 1963 to August 1965. 20,000 people watched them. Out of the 600, 000 acts in the US army document center 6,000-8,000 SS soldiers were found to work at Auschwitz. From that only 22 men were charged.
About the film:
The Labyrinth of Lies called in the original language Im Labyrinth des Schweigens is informative, exciting to watch like a thriller. The acting of Gert Voss, Alexander Fehling and Friederike Becht (playing Marlene, the girlfriend of Johann Radmann) is impressive. During the 2 hours you are kept to your seat, overwhelmed by the powerful story. It is a film to watch over and over again.
Read our story about the Labyrinth of Lies:
Giulio Ricciarelli & Alexander Fehling talk about The Labyrinth of Lies: from two interviews with Giulio Riccarelli and Alexander Fehling during the Zurich Film Festival.