Based on real people and events, The People vs. Fritz Bauer focuses on Bauer (Burghart Klaußner) — a German Jew, serving as an attorney general in West Germany in 1957. As attorney general, Bauer’s work included tracking down former Nazi officials. In the process, he is constantly undermined by superiors and colleagues who are still sympathetic to the Third Reich.
Amidst the many letters the prosecutor receives at work, one from Argentina promises a tangible lead on the whereabouts of Holocaust criminal Adolf Eichmann. This letter sets off Bauer in a chase that leads to more interference from his superiors, and death threats. Bauer is cornered into asking Israeli intelligence to assist in finding Eichmann.
There is no one to trust. Bauer is collaborating with the Mossad. No less dangerous is Bauer’s personal life, and the existence of police reports that he has visited male prostitutes while in Denmark — sadly, being homosexual was seen as a crime in Germany at the time. Bauer is forced to confide in a younger prosecutor, Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld). Turns out Bauer’s suspicion that Angermann may share a similar personal predicament.
Directed by Lars Kraume, the film is deliberate. The screenplay by Kraume and Olivier Guez create a story that, although slow-moving, is gripping. The cinematography adds a visual layer that adds to the mood of the film. Although many films about postwar Germany have been made, this is a good story that is worth telling. See it for yourself and see why.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer is currently screening at Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas. Please check their website for screening information.