Humbling & Harrowing
Based on real events and set in the heart of Nazi Germany, The Photographer Of Mauthausen is a brutal, methodically paced journey through the horrors of the Mauthausen Holocaust Camp. Following the exploits of Spaniard Francesc Boix in the Austrian concentration camp, this 110 minute film is shocking, well written and humbling in equal doses.
After a brief explanation as to who these prisoners are, the opening act of the film shows a group of prisoners taken to Mauthausen and promptly stripped and shaved. From here, the group are split up before being forced to adjust to their new lives inside the walls of the camp. It’s at this point where the initial perspective from a young boy switches to the aforementioned protagonist, Francesc Boix. With the officers taking photos of the camp and manipulating deaths to suit their own narrative, Francesc witnesses this firsthand and decides to do something about it.
With the help of a group of dedicated inmates, Francesc sets about smuggling negative prints from cameras out of the camp and into the hands of those who can make a real difference to their lives. In order to do that, they’ll have to outsmart the guards while remaining hidden and operating in secret which proves to be easier said than done. All of this culminates in a climactic finale and a perfect final shot to round out this humbling film.
While it was never going to dethrone Schindler’s List as the pinnacle of this genre, The Photographer Of Mauthausen is really well written although the supporting cast don’t always shine as much as they should. Thankfully, Mario Casas does an excellent job in his role and alongside the German soldiers who remain a menacing and unnerving presence throughout the film, certainly do well to elevate this one.
This historical drama is shocking, harrowing and at times incredibly shocking. While the atrocities holocaust victims endured are well documented by now, it’s still upsetting and difficult to watch all these years later. The Photographer Of Mauthausen is no exception and a reminder that we should never forget this horrific slice of human history.