Danvers Mail

Film and Books Are Where History Should Always Remain

MOVIE REVIEW
Filmmakers for the Prosecution

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Genre: Documentary, History
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h
Director(s): Jean-Christophe Klotz
Language: English/French w/English subtitles
Where To Watch: Opens January 27 in NYC & February 3, 2023, in LA


RAVING REVIEW: Kino Lorber's latest offering, FILMMAKERS FOR THE PROSECUTION, looks into the crucial role that motion pictures played in the Nuremberg Trials, where leaders were held accountable for their actions on the global stage. This emotionally devastating documentary explores how Hollywood filmmakers searched for film evidence to present in the courtroom and how that footage became part of the official record, shaping our understanding of the Holocaust to this day.


The film examines the research and investigation into these groundbreaking materials and asks questions about cinema's power to shape history. The archival footage of the evidence is compelling and resonates with anyone who watches them. The short runtime makes the film easily digestible; it was difficult at times to screen because of the history behind it all. Still, it's important to remember everything that happened in our past.

This story also features insights from scholars and illuminating comments about the decision to suppress the American film about the Nuremberg trial as the Cold War began. The people in Berlin, along with the military and government, felt it should primarily be used as a de-Nazification, a re-education tool. They wanted to show the difference between Nazi justice and Ally justice.

Moreover, the film gives a glimpse of the OSS officers who tracked down the movies used to convict the Nazis, a startling example of the power of the moving image to change hearts and minds and to shape our collective memory of those tragic events. It features newly-discovered archival footage about their search and their presentation of the films as evidence in a court of law at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, the first of 13 Nuremberg trials.

This story is carried by a person who served for 30 years in the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Department of Justice, pursuing Nazis in the U.S. and deporting them to stand trial in Germany. This individual explains how the “Nuremberg principles” underlie all modern attempts to prosecute crimes against humanity and crimes against the peace.

FILMMAKERS FOR THE PROSECUTION is a powerful reminder of motion pictures' role in shaping history and the importance of remembering the past. The film features jaw-dropping first-hand accounts by key figures in the story. It also gives an inside look at the extraordinary mission of the filmmakers through never-before-seen footage and their private letters.

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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]