The final work of British filmmaker Luke Holland, Final Account tells the Holocaust from the perspective of the Nazis, featuring nearly 300 interviews with the last living generation of Germans who participated in or witnessed the rise of the Third Reich.
Final Account charts the spread of Nazi influence in Germany, from its early genesis through initiatives such as the Hitler Youth programme to the grand and grisly culmination of Hitler’s doctrine. There’s a wide range of responses from Holland’s interviewees, from various SS officers to concentration camp workers and Wehrmacht soldiers attempting to construct their personal Holocaust narratives through denial, obfuscation or grim acceptance.
There’s no one way to reconcile the scale of the Holocaust, but patterns do emerge in these unreliable narrators that expose the unsettling ways that the human mind wavers in the face of terror, and how this fear quickly gives way to complicity.
Final Account also highlights the ways in which deadly ideologies can be bred in normal people, with the testimonies showing how easily forces like convenience or self-preservation can be used to calcify hearts and minds. It’s simultaneously interesting and horrifying to see Holland’s interviewees fondly remembering the liberation of the Hitler Youth, or to hear how quickly the uncompromising violence of the Third Reich was normalised in German society.
While obviously bereft of Jewish voices, Final Account makes sure the presence of the Holocaust looms over the interviews, through Holland’s tight editing and masterful solemn presentation, even when the interviewees attempt to deflect responsibility or change topic. While the titular final account is focused around the perspectives of those complicit in the atrocities, the silent voices of the dead demand your attention in the negative space created by their absence.
Final Account is an unconventional but complex exploration of one of the worst atrocities in human history, and a fascinating look into the worryingly thin line between man and monster.
Final Account does not have a UK release date yet.
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