EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MY ENEMY'S ENEMY (director/writer: Kevin Macdonald; cinematographer: Jean-Luc Perréard; editor: Nicolas Chaudeurge; music: Alex Heffes; cast: Andre Dussolier (Narrator), Robert Taylor (American Counter Intelligence officer), Kai Hermann (German journalist); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Rita Dagher/Kevin Macdonald; Weinstein Company, The; 2007-France/UK-in Spanish, German, & French with English subtitles and in English)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Kevin Macdonald ("One Day in
September"/"The Last King of
Scotland"/"Touching The Void") directs this informative and
compelling documentary on the infamous
World War II Nazi war criminal, Klaus Barbie, who was nicknamed The
Butcher of Lyon. The monster earned that name in occupied France in
Lyon, where he tortured to death during the war the Resistance leader
Jean Moulin and arrested 44 Jewish children in an
orphanage in 1944 (The children were later
Macdonald doesn't dwell on
Barbie's inhuman wartime crimes alone, but follows how the Butcher
evaded capture for forty years after the war thanks to the U.S.
government giving him cover with an alias, helping him to relocate to
South America and hiring him to work for American Intelligence. He
provided info on key Communists (he got info that helped in the arrest
of Che Guevara). The Americans, such as CIA head Allen
Dulles, believed the commies were a greater threat than the Nazis and
secretly had at least 100 war criminals on the payroll to help them
fight their war on Communism. They took on Barbie even though they knew
he was despicable and was wanted in France as a war criminal. Macdonald shows a repugnance to both Barbie and to
the U.S. government for supporting such an immoral program using
unrepentant Nazis during the Cold War and being hypocritical about its
belief in democracy.
Barbie was finally captured in 1987 in Bolivia (he had been
living there since 1957 and it took a new left-wing government to act).
The elderly sadist went on trial in France. When
asked at his trial if he had anything to say in his defense, Barbie
replied "I fought the Resistance, that I respect, harshly, but
it was war and the war is over. Thank you." The Butcher was then
to life in prison. He died in 1991 in prison from cancer.
film has interviews (historians, Intelligence operatives and
journalists) and archival footage of Barbie from the war and from the
time when he was protected by the CIA. There's a journalist who asks
Barbie's smug daughter Ute Messner, in denial that her father is a
monster, how she feels being the daughter of a
man who is commonly referred to as The Butcher of Lyon. She replies "that butchers may be upset by that
association, since butchering is an honest profession." She ends the
interview by saying that her father was "a kind and
REVIEWED ON 3/17/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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