After exploding onto the international arthouse scene with XXY (JDIFF 2008), Lucía Puenzo returns with the chilling story of Josef Mengele: the doctor who performed unthinkable experiments at Auschwitz before fleeing to Argentina. In Wakolda Mengele – posing under a pseudonym – befriends the family of young Lilith, a pretty but abnormally short girl with whom the doctor develops an obsession. Seduced by his attention and promises of injections that will make her grow, Lilith warms to Mengele, who moves into the hotel where she lives with her pregnant mother.
Mengele’s exploits provide ample ammunition for dramatic tension, with Àlex Brendemühl (so memorable as the deadpan serial killer in The Hours of the Day) perfectly sinister as the doctor himself. But alongside the thriller narrative, Puenzo also allows room for a broader contextual sweep that reflects candidly on Argentina’s history as a Nazi retreat.
Cambridge Film Festival
‘A gently striking and achingly tense drama’