Participant, ZEF Productions (Luke Holland), Passion Pictures (John Battsek), Riete Oord
In 2008, British filmmaker Luke Holland began interviewing the last living generation of Germans to have participated in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich—not the infamously chilling names in history books, but the everyday citizens who carried out the plans made by the architects of mass-scale genocide. These were the young men and women, who became SS members, Wehrmacht fighters, concentration camp guards and silent civilian witnesses. More than a decade and 250 interviews later, Holland has created Final Account, a raw and urgent document that reflects, in the most direct and personal way, on the question of how otherwise ordinary, aspirational human beings took part in one of the most extraordinary of all human crimes. As Holland mixes in-depth witness statements, previously unseen archival material and haunting current-day footage, what comes to the fore is a portrait of how rapidly moral norms can evaporate and how myths and denial can fill the vacuum. Final Account reverberates with themes of our times— examining the perils of authority, conformity, national identity and ideological mythmaking; and laying bare both the dark fog and piercing clarity of human memory.
My hope for Final Account is that people will think about its historical importance, but also that people will think about their own place in today’s inordinately complex world. How do we become aware of when we’re participating in a crime, however subtly? How did some of these people I interviewed not know they were implicated in these terrible crimes until things had gone too far? I hope the film provides an opportunity to reflect on this. And the optimist in me says these lessons can still be applied.
PRODUCTION 1: Participant
331 Foothill Road, 3rd Floor
90210 – Beverly Hills, United States of America
Tel. +1 3105505100
PRODUCTION 2: Luke Holland - ZEF Productions Ltd.
PRODUCTION 3: John Battsek – Passion Pictures (Films) Ltd.
33-34 Rathbone Place
W1T 1JN – London, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 20 7323 9933
PRODUCTION 4: Riete Oord
INTERNATIONAL SALES: Philippa Kowarsky – Cinephil
18 Levontin Street
6511207 – Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel. +972 3 566 4129
NORTH AMERICAN SALES:
PRESS OFFICE: Claudia Tomassini + associates
Tel. +49 1732055794