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Nazi perpetrators acquitted: "The Collini case" as a cinema release | Movies | DW

Nazi perpetrators acquitted: "The Collini case" as a cinema release | Movies | KG

The film should also have the potential to be a bestseller. And not only because in the movie of the same name (theatrical release April 18th) an exciting judicial scandal is dealt with in an explosive historical background. For the occupation of the main role, the producers have come up with a coup. Elyas M'Barek, Germany's teenage swarm number one, plays the lead role.

The actor, who in the three episodes of the hit movie "Fack ju Göhte" attracted millions of Germans to the cinemas between 2013 and 2017 and made the school comedies one of the greatest public successes of German film in recent years, plays a smart young lawyer , a defender with little experience, fresh from college. Elyas M'Barek is Casper Leinen, who is serving as a public defender in the "Collini case".

A difficult historical material – also prepared for a younger audience

This case has it all. Many viewers may have heard of the 1968 adopted in the Federal Republic "Introductory Act to the Law on Administrative Offenses" never heard. At that time it caused a major judicial scandal and a social debate. But that is a long time ago. Those who have read the novel "The Collini Case" a few years ago may still have the historical background in mind – but a younger generation barely.

Film scene The Collini case (2019 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH)

Elyas M'Barek first taps, like the audience, long in the dark

"My aim is to prepare complicated fabrics so that they are not only interesting for a smaller fringe group," says producer Christoph Müller: "Because we want to initiate a discussion on issues such as the rule of law, revenge, prescription, self-justice, justice – and this debate should not be conducted only by the older generation. " That's why, according to the producers' plan, the cast with the popular young star – in a film about horrible National Socialist crimes, among other things.

The "leniency law": legal quibbles with fatal consequences

The law passed by the Bundestag in May 1968 – colloquially called "leniency law" – saw to it that many murders suddenly became time barred – because according to the new law they were no longer regarded as murder, but merely as manslaughter. And manslaughter barred after the new German jurisprudence at some point – in contrast to murder.

Film scene The Collini case (2019 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH)

European cinema star Franco Nero impressively plays Fabrizio Collini

That concerned – so the fatal background of the law – many Nazi murderers. Specifically, this meant that Nazi murderers could no longer be held accountable in rows because they were no more than offenderbut only as agents were classified. Their actions were thus "only" as homicide, The most perfidious of the new law: One of the co-initiators was a certain Eduard Dreher, who was sitting in the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Republic at a crucial point.

The law was also launched as self-protection

Dreher worked as a prosecutor at the special court in Innsbruck during National Socialism and was responsible for many death sentences. Today, historians believe that Turner launched the law 23 years after the end of the Second World War for ideological and selfish reasons.

Film scene The Collini case (2019 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH)

The seconds before the act: Collini (Franco Nero, l.) And Hans Meyer (Manfred Zapatka)

Ferdinand von Schirach had cast the historically explosive justice material of the novel in 2011 in an exciting action that referred to real cases. The author had carefully researched these previously.

In the film, the young, inexperienced Casper Leinen as a public defender gets the job to defend the 70-year-old Fabrizio Collini (played by Italo-Western legend Franco Nero). Collini had shot the respected German industrialist Hans Meyer and subsequently allowed himself to be arrested apathetically. About the motives of his act Collini persistently silent.

The spectator taps in the "Collini case" long in the dark

The film shows Casper Leinen in his research: Why only, he asks himself (together with the audience), Collini Meyer has ever killed? What were his motives? And why is he silent now? Director Marco Kreuzpaintner, who has already worked in Hollywood ("Trade" 2007 with Kevin Kline) and was recently able to convince with the series "Beat" staged for "Amazon", has turned the book into an exciting movie piece to the end.

Film scene The Collini case (2019 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH)

She has connections to all parties in the film: Johanna Meyer (Alexandra Maria Lara)

Hans Meyer, it turns out in the course of the action, was once in Italy an unscrupulous SS officer, who was responsible among other things for the death of Collini's father. Meyer, as the film leaves no doubt, was a cruel Nazi perpetrator who committed or carried out beastly murders in Italy. Due to the jurisdiction of 1968, he was "relieved" and never had to face up to his responsibilities.

Elyas M'Barek can convince in the role of the beginning naive defender

"The Collini case" tells its story as a classic judicial thriller with many flashbacks to the past, asking questions: "I was particularly interested in the topic of justice," says director Kreuzpaintner: "The question of what we call right, also always fair. " The film is to him "something that has become very rare these days, namely a 'moral' movie material in the best sense of the word: a story in which one may revolt over a monstrosity and accompany a hero as he does a little bit for more Justice ensures. "

By the way, Elyas M'Barek is doing a great job. In the high-profile, historically explosive judicial thriller, the Munich-born Austrian actor with Tunisian roots convinces as a sympathetic lawyer who fights for the one good cause.

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