Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov, whose last film “Leto” competed at Cannes in 2018, is teaming with “Wasp Network” producer Charles Gillibert to adapt the best-selling French novel “The Disappearance of Josef Mengele.”
Winner of the prestigious Renaudot Prize in 2017, Olivier Guez’s novel “The Disappearance of Josef Mengele” was published in more than 30 countries and describes the fugitive years of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who found refuge in South America at the end of the Second World War.
Exploring the tormented psyche of an executioner, the story is told through the eyes of Mengele as he tries to escape his fate and travels from Paraguay to the Brazilian jungle. During his journey, Mengele also sees the world evolving and becomes aware of Nazi crimes. Along with winning the Renaudot Prize, the book also ignited debates about the complicity of some South American countries towards former Nazi dignitaries.
Serebrennikov, whose new film “Petrov” is currently in post-production, wrote the adaptation of the novel himself, with the support of Guez.
“Kirill Serebrennikov is one of the greatest contemporary Russian filmmakers, and we are very proud to
work with him on this project,” said Gillibert, who acquired rights to the book and is producing the film through his Paris-based banner CG Cinema. Ilya Stewart at Russia’s Hype Films (“Persian Lessons”) and Julio Chavezmontes at Mexican banner Piano (“Memoria”) are co-producing the film.
Gillibert pointed out that Serebrennikov was “passionate about the novel, and gave a singular and ambitious interpretation of it…Telling Mengele’s story from his point of view is a difficult challenge, but Kirill has
managed to find the right angle.”
Gillibert, whose credits include Olivier Assayas’s “Wasp Network” and the Oscar-nominated film “Mustang,” said Serebrennikov’s screenplay depicts the “metaphysical escape of a man consumed by guilt (and) a hidden history of Europe, which finds fascinating echoes with our times.”
Serebrennikov had already looked at the birth of the fascist rhetoric in his 2016 film “The Student,” which world premiered at Un Certain Regard in Cannes.
CG Cinéma’s prestige lineup includes Leos Carax’s “Annette” with Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island” with Tim Roth.