Programme

Denial

Mick Jackson

United Kingdom, USA, 2016 / 110 min / English OV with English and Dutch subtitles / Biography, Historical Drama

The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it.

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Based on the acclaimed book “History on Trial: My Day in Court With A Holocaust Denier”, “Denial” recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against once renowned military historian David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. But since the burden of proof in English libel law lies with the accused, it bizarrely fell to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Ramption, to demonstrate the essential truth that one of the defining events of the century did indeed transpire.

 

“Denial” deals not just with historical events but with the very idea of history and truth itself. David Hare’s script zeroes in on the fascinating specifics of the court case while presenting a wider perspective on the dangers of revisionism. Rachel Weisz brings a ferocious tenacity to her portrayal of Lipstadt. And Timothy Spall epitomises the banality of evil, playing an iconoclast goaded by newfound media attention. “Denial” is a gripping reminder that history should never be taken for granted and has gained further relevance in our post-factual age where outright lies are simply labelled “alternative facts”.

Screenings
Thu 02/03 19:00 Kinepolis Kirchberg EN OV sub. FR & NL Projection privée

“(Lipstadt’s) influential work, now retitled Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, is sensitively dramatized by director Mick Jackson and screenwriter David Hare, who choose to stick as close to the real story as possible. Rachel Weisz’s arresting, combative Lipstadt, a shining woman warrior, is a role she will be remembered for, while as her antagonist Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner) makes a spookily stubborn, thoroughly despicable, but still human Irving. (…)  Hare’s screenplay is carefully balanced but not morbidly respectful, allowing moments — many moments — of humor to lighten its weighty topic.. (…) All the dialogue in the courtroom scenes is taken verbatim from the trial records, giving them an almost documentary level of realism.” Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, 11/09/2016

 

“A movie about Holocaust deniers shouldn't be so relevant in (…) 2016, but — for better or worse — this is essential viewing. (…) A simple courtroom drama that never betrays its convictions, the film is a basic but bitterly urgent reminder that history is far more fluid than fact, a garden that must be tended to at all times lest it withers and grows weeds. (…) Working from a spirited but straightforward script by the brilliant playwright and screenwriter David Hare (“The Hours”), the film is immediately attuned to the dark power of narrativizing hatred. As cold-blooded libel lawyer Richard Rampton, the great Tom Wilkinson only further cements his status as a humble pillar of contemporary British cinema. Wilkinson is the rare actor who can balance casual grace with extreme gravitas — his steady performance shudders with the knowledge losing the trial would make it acceptable to doubt the Holocaust, but Wilkinson tempers that anxiety with staunch professionalism, knowing full well that his character is also making a case for the efficacy of the system, of the need to prioritize veracity over a misplaced sense of victimhood. (…) “Denial” does the modern world a great service by refusing to entertain the idea that there are two sides to every story, even if that means it refuses to entertain a portion of its audience in the process.” David Ehrlich, IndieWire, 12/09/2016

 

 

“Hare injects some compelling passages that cut deep, even if you’re familiar with the story. There’s a provocative scene where Lipstadt is pressured at a dinner in London to settle with Irving to avoid giving him a platform to spout his hate-filled nonsense. “He does these things for his glory,” she’s told. Hare makes the parallels to the media’s treatment of Donald Trump during this US election cycle ring loud and clear. Another scene that sees Lipstadt and her lawyers visit the concentration camp at Auschwitz is sensitively handled and undeniably affecting.” Nigel M Smith, The Guardian, 12/09/2016

 

“the issues brought up in the incredibly powerful and fascinating new drama Denial not only make this movie vital for today’s audiences in the era of Donald Trump, it also makes it the most important and urgent film of 2016. The fact that it has been in development for seven or eight years makes it even more remarkable, since it shows the more things change, the more they stay the same and that the power of someone’s words — actually lies — is more lethal than a weapon and must be stopped. (…) The great British playwright David Hare wrote the screenplay based on Lipstadt’s book and her follow-up, Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, and he has stuck entirely to the actual words spoken in that courtroom for the key showdown. This is just riveting filmmaking at its finest. (…) Jackson and Hare have found a way to make all of this thrillingly cinematic, even though in other hands it might have been too dry to have the impact these filmmakers have landed. Denial is a movie that never lags, and for what it manages to say about the dangers of a lie” Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood, 28/09/2016

Cast & Credits
Cast 
Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius, Alex Jennings, Harriet Walter, Mark Gatiss, John Sessions, Nikki Amuka-Bird
Screenplay 
David Hare, based on the book “History on Trial: My Day in Court With A Holocaust Denier” by Deborah Lipstadt
Cinematographer 
Haris Zambarloukos
Sound 
Danny Hambrook (Sound Mixer)
Set 
Andrew McAlpine
Music 
Howard Shore
Production 
BBC Films, Krasnoff / Foster Entertainment, Participant Media, Shoebox Films
Distribution 
Entertainment One Benelux
Biography

Mick Jackson was born in 1943 in England and is a British film director and television producer who has been working many years for the BBC and Channel 4. After 1987, he moved to Hollywood to direct feature films, among which the 1992 box office hit “The Bodyguard”. Over the course of his career, he won three BAFTA Awards for television dramas and an Emmy in 2010 as director of the biopic “Temple Grandin” about the American professor of the same name diagnosed with autism.

Filmography
  • 2016 - Denial
  • 2010 - Temple Grandin (TV Film )
  • 2000 - Whitney Houston : The Greatest Hits (documentary)
  • 1997 - Volcano
  • 1994 - Clean Slate
  • 1992 - The Bodyguard
  • 1991 - L.A. Story
  • 1989 - Chattahoochee