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Never trust the Spanish-speaking doctor with the German accent

'The German Doctor' is moody and creepy

May 20, 2014, 12:00 am

It’s 1960. Imagine you’re an unassuming Argentine family, and you happen to help a stranger make his way down a treacherous mountain road. And then the man you helped decides to book a room in the resort you run.

That’s how The German Doctor begins, and it only gets creepier from there. The man helped by the Argentine family is Josef Mengele (living under an assumed name, and played to perfection by Àlex Brendemühl), who was directly responsible for sending countless victims to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Mengele also performed bizarre medical experiments on twins, and he notices the family matriarch, Eva (Natalia Oreiro), who’s pregnant, is a little too big to be carrying one fetus. Plus, there’s Lilith (Florencia Bado), Eva’s daughter, who’s short for her age, and the doctor recommends some hormone treatments.

If you know your postwar history, you know The German Doctor is based on a true story, and Mengele indeed spent his later years on the run in South America. There’s a network of German expats to help him, and he blends in at a German language school. The Germans’ set-up is nonchalant, which just makes it more eerie. Elena Roger is excellent as Nora Eldoc, the Mossad agent on Mengele’s trail. Fine direction by Lucía Puenzo.

Directed by Lucía Puenzo
With Brendemühl, Oreiro and Roger
CCA Cinematheque
94 min.


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