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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE DECENT ONE

12:302:404:507:009:15

Through Tuesday, October 14

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY VANESSA LAPA

“We can have but one desire as to what is said about us: These German officers, these German soldiers – they were decent.” – Heinrich Himmler. A recently discovered cache of hundreds of personal letters, diaries, and photographs belonging to the Nazi Gestapo chief seems to reveal a thoughtful, loving husband and devoted father to his daughter, Gudrun. The documents were hidden in Tel Aviv for decades and sold to the father of the Israeli documentary filmmaker, Vanessa Lapa. She has fashioned a fascinating case study: a portrait of the man responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War, who thought of himself in heroic terms. Psychologists, historians, and moralists have long debated how seemingly ordinary people can do monstrous things. The jaw-dropping discrepancies Lapa discovers between Himmler’s self-image and his historical role cast a new, piercing light on the human capacity for self-delusion. 

With support from the Joan S. Constantiner Fund for Jewish and Holocaust Film

ISRAEL / AUSTRIA / GERMANY • 2014 • 94 MINS. • IN GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
KINO LORBER

Reviews

“A fabulous excursion into the deep mystery of evil.”
– Errol Morris  

“A chilling disconnect runs through (the film). The juxtaposition of Himmler’s correspondence and German history is complex and fluid… Ms. Lapa’s sources, acquired for the making of this documentary, are unusually rich (and their very quantity helps to dramatize the bureaucratic side of Nazi atrocity)… Many freshly haunting and illuminating undercurrents are brought forth.”
– Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times

“A fascinating epistolary narrative.”
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Startling and intimate.”
– Leonard Lopate, WNYC radio
Click here to listen to Lopate’s interview with director Vanessa Lapa

“The genius of THE DECENT ONE, Vanessa Lapa’s disturbing new documentary… is that she in no way tries to differentiate between the man and the monster. Instead she vividly recreates them both. The mostly black and white images belong to the past, but the soundtrack, which meticulously reproduces the street sounds, music and ambiance of wartime Germany, jars us into a sense of immediacy one rarely associates with archival footage.”
–  Sheerly Avni, The Forward 

“Eerie and utterly riveting.”
– Farran Smith Nehme, The New York Post