Based on the minutes of this meeting, which remained secret for ages, “The Conference” is as close as possible to the reality of the debates that took place there.
The Wannsee Conference, nothing but the Wannsee Conference. To realize The conference, the German director Matti Geschonneck took as his main source the minutes of the exchanges which lasted 1h48 (the exact duration of the film), drawn up by Adolf Eichmann, in charge of “Jewish affairs and evacuation” during the Second World War world. The objective of this “meeting followed by a collation”: to organize the deportation and extermination of the estimated eleven million Jews in Europe. Six million will not escape. The conference hits theaters Wednesday, April 19.
board of directors
Morning of January 20, 1942. Reinhard Heydrich, right arm of Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo, receives fourteen Nazi executives in a luxurious villa in Wannsee, near Berlin, to discuss a secret subject. These representatives of the Waffen SS or of the Party, ministerial officials and emissaries from the conquered provinces, learn at the last minute that they will have to find an agreement before noon to organize the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe, called “Final Solution”. In less than two hours, the fate of six million people, out of an estimated 11 million Jews in Europe, will be sealed according to an industrial modus operandi.
When the participants arrive in their luxury sedans at the Wannsee conference, it looks like a Sunday reception. A single female presence, a secretary, a precious civil servant thanks to whom it is possible to know what was said between the decision-makers of what was to become the Shoah. Gathered around a U-shaped table, these fifteen SS dignitaries evoke a board of directors, a turn that the exchanges will take. Never the words of men, women, let alone victims, are spoken. They and they are reduced only to the term “units” and to figures, such as goods, weights.
With The conference, we could expect a talkative film, whose closed place would have more place in the theater. It is not so, as its director Matti Geschonneck captures the winter light and builds frames of remarkable rigor. A sinister verdigris ballet is performed when the characters stroll through the salons, while the classic shots-reverse shots between protagonists in no way hinder the monstrosity of the remarks made with mathematical detachment. The horror of the engineered plans takes on even more scope, under this cold and administrative term of consensual dignitaries who “manage” a process of extermination that has been underway since 1940. Because it is indeed management that is in question, where the cost of the operation is not the last of the aspects, reducing human nature to an economic value.
Precision, both in form and in meaning, is the key word of The conference. Allowing itself three little pranks outside of Eichmann’s minutes, the film takes on a solemn dimension, its dramaturgy based on the incredible casual turn taken by the debates, when it comes to a mass extermination, a genocide. The film makes accessible to everyone the origin of one of the greatest disasters in history, shortbread with Champagne, saber drawn. Monstrous.
Gender : historical drama
Director: Matti Geschonneck
Actors: Fabian Busch, Maximilian Brückner, Peter Jordan, Simon Schwarz, Johannes Allmayer, Arnd Klawitter, Matthias Bundschuh, Godehard Giese, Philipp Hochmair, Jakob Diehl, Thomas Loibl, Rafael Stachowiak, Lilli Fichtner, Frederic Linkemann, Sascha Nathan, Markus Schleinzer
Country : Germany
Duration : 1h48
Exit : April 19 2023
Distributer : CondorCast