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February 4, 2013

The Deathmaker by Romuald Karmakar

The daring films of Romuald Karmakar (b. 1965) share an unflinching interest, even obsession, with that which lies within the darkest shadows. Whether exploring the strange subcultures of the military, the durational rituals of the electronic music scene, or reenacting forgotten chapters in German history, Karmakar captures and compels the viewer to watch, in rapt fascination, as he blows off the dust of habitual complacency to reveal the strange, the cruel, the entrancing previously hidden in plain sight. One of Karmakar's best known films is The Deathmaker, his chilling portrait of the notorious serial killer Fritz Haarmann, the model for the deranged murderer played by Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang's M. Focusing entirely upon the lengthy psychiatric interrogations and tests conducted on Haarmann, and entirely contained within the examination room, Karmakar offers a study of the ethical and epistemological dilemma of scientific and bureaucratic procedure when faced with a kind of unfiltered evil. Although it is often trumpeted that the more you learn the less you know, in The Deathmaker, the aphorism takes on a grim new meaning as the false securities of medical and scientific knowledge are shattered by the doctors' inability to understand what motivates the most heinous of crimes.  

We are pleased to welcome Romuald Karmakar to the Harvard Film Archive for this special presentation of The Deathmaker. We are also grateful to Professor Eric Rentschler of the Germanic Languages and Literature Department at Harvard, who will lead a conversation with Karmakar after the screening.— Haden Guest

A 2012-13 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Romuald Karmakar will give a lecture about his work on Monday, February 4 at 4pm in the Sheerr Room of Fay House at 10 Garden Street.

$12 Special Event Tickets - Romuald Karmakar and Eric Rentschler in Person
Monday February 4 at 7pm

The Deathmaker (Der Totmacher)

Directed by Romuald Karmakar. With Götz George, Jürgen Hentsch, Pierre Franckh
Germany 1995, 35mm, color, 110 min. German with English subtitles

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