MHM Film Club – The Ninth Day

A German-made drama depicting the ethical dilemmas of a priest imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp but released for nine days.
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (2004).
Presented by Dr Paul Bartrop, Bialik College.

Dachau – Germany’s first concentration camp – was used to imprison and persecute many of the different groups targeted by the Nazi regime. The German drama The Ninth Day tells the little known story of a Luxembourg priest, named Father Henri Kremer (played by Ulrich Mattes) in the film, who is unexpectedly released from Dachau and sent home to his family. The plot focuses on the nine days that the protagonist is given to make a “choice”: collaborate with the Nazis or face severe reprisals from the Gestapo officer Gebhardt (August Diehl). The battle of wills between these two men forms the centrepiece of Volker Schlöndorff’s moral thriller, which depicts the physical suffering and emotional turmoil inflicted on the Nazis’ victims. Amidst a background of extreme practices of dehumanisation and the broader complicity of the Vatican, the film depicts the ethical dilemma forced on one man – whether to cooperate, whether to flee, whether to resist.

The MHM Film Club is held in partnership with Deakin University.