The German Doctor

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The German Doctor
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lucía Puenzo
Produced by Lucía Puenzo
Written by Lucía Puenzo
Based on Wakolda
by Lucía Puenzo
Starring Àlex Brendemühl
Natalia Oreiro
Diego Peretti
Music by Daniel Tarrab
Andrés Goldstein
Cinematography Nicolás Puenzo
Edited by Hugo Primero
Distributed by Distribution Company
Release date
  • 22 May 2013 (2013-05-22) (Cannes)
  • 19 September 2013 (2013-09-19) (Argentina)
Running time
94 minutes
Country Argentina
Language Spanish

The German Doctor (Spanish: Wakolda) is a 2013 Argentine historical drama film directed, produced, and written by Lucía Puenzo, based on her own novel Wakolda (2011).[1] The film stars Àlex Brendemühl as Nazi SS officer and physician Josef Mengele,[2] infamous for performing human experiments in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It also stars Florencia Bado, Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti, Elena Roger, and Guillermo Pfening.[3]


Josef Mengele is in exile in Argentina in 1960, living under a new identity. He makes a long journey by road to a new location by following a family, as the roads are dangerous. Mengele has his own place to stay in Patagonia, but he takes an interest in Lilith, the daughter of the family, and he moves into their hotel by paying six months' rent.

Lilith was born prematurely and, as a result, she is much shorter than her classmates. She is bullied at school because of her size. Mengele is working as a doctor and suggests that he can help her grow more quickly, and Lilith's mother Eva agrees to this. Meanwhile, people who have been searching for Mengele believe that they have found him and begin to gather evidence on his true identity.

Eva is pregnant with twins, to Mengele's fascination. He compiles copious notes on them, Lilith, and the rest of her family as he continues to aid in her growth. Lilith becomes sick as a side effect of the growth hormones that Mengele has given her. Her father Enzo finds out the truth; he is furious and demands that Mengele leave the hotel. Eva goes into labour, and Mengele is the only doctor nearby and is allowed to help with the care of the newborn twins. They are born prematurely, and Mengele starts experiments to ensure their survival. He is conscious of the fact that people are trying to find his true identity, and when he's almost caught, he escapes the remote location on a seaplane.



It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[4] The film was selected as the Argentine entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[5][6][7] but it was not nominated.


The film received positive reviews from critics. It currently holds a 73% rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 59 reviews, with an average score of 5.7/10. The site's consensus reads, "The German Doctor applies a refreshing level of restraint to its intriguing premise, and boasts solid performances from a talented cast."

Awards and nominations

Group Award Result
66th Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Nominated
Saint Petersburg International Film Festival Audience Prize Won
San Sebastián International Film Festival Horizontes Nominated
Films from the South Festival Best Feature Nominated
35th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema[8] Best Director Won
Special Jury Award Won

See also


  1. ^ Debruge, Peter. "Cannes Film Review: 'Wakolda'". Variety. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  2. ^ ""Wakolda", the film about Mengele in Argentina, chosen as Oscar precandidate". Yahoo! News Spain (in Spanish). 27 September 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Cast". Wakolda official website. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  4. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Oscars: Argentina Nominates 'Wakolda' for Foreign Language Oscar". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Argentina Chooses 'German Doctor' (aka 'Wakolda') for Oscar Race". Variety. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Argentina Calls On 'The German Doctor' As Foreign Language Oscar Entry". Deadline. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Premios Corales-35 Festival" (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 September 2013.

External links

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