- 2 hr 12 min
Amen is a historical war epic film that was written and directed by Costa-Gavras with Jean-Claude Grumberg and Rolf Hochhuth. The movie features Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Muhe and Mathieu Kassovitz. The story follows the real life of Kurt Gerstein, who faces an extreme dilemma concerning a plot of murderous totalitarian efforts. As a lieutenant in the SS and chemical engineer, he worked on developing Zyklon B, one of the compounds used in Nazi extermination camps. Despite the actions of the Nazis, Gerstein is horrified to learn that this lethal application is being used of his original invention. He had been under the impression that it was only going to be used to purify the drinking water for troops. Feeling responsible and guilty, he attempts to alert everyone about the genocide that is unfolding and to try to stop it by whatever technical and bureaucratic means possible. As a result, Gerstein finds that he becomes embroiled in the paradoxes involved in trying to obstruct the machinery while being forced to participate in it. However, since he is so culpable, his testimony is both not trusted and ignored by the authorities. Roman Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII records are examined that reveal a renewed debate of the subject. Riccardo Fontana (played by Mathieu Kassovitz) is an aristocratic Jesuit. As he is attached to Berlin's papal nuncio, he is the only one who agrees to listen to Gerstein. Fontana tries repeatedly to stop the killing of European Jews and bring the matter to the pope's attention. However, he and Gerstein find themselves powerless. The rest of the people around them are all indifferent to the situation. After the war, Gerstein is arrested by the Allies. He was murdered or committed suicide while in custody. His attempts to document the atrocities of Germany and prevent them were finally acknowledged. The court declared that he was tainted by Nazism, and his name was cleared as of 1965.