Seeds of Deceit
There are a million reasons that compel people to have children, but on a base level this drive comes from a need to leave a part of ourselves in the world, someone who will continue the story of the family. For the megalomaniacs featured in Seeds of Deceit, they pushed this impulse to an extreme, industrial level at the expense of countless unknowing victims.
This three-part documentary focuses on the crimes of Dr Jan Karbaat, the charismatic manager of a fertility clinic in the Netherlands. The first part follows his practice where hopeful women would come to try and conceive through artificial insemination. The ostensibly benevolent “miracle maker” would provide a list of elite donors for the women to choose from but instead he would use as much of his own semen without their knowledge. This grotesque abuse of power sent shockwaves of trauma throughout the generations born of his seed. The victims bravely recount their experiences and paint a poignant picture of a man who preyed on infertile couples’ desperation to proliferate his genetic reach.
The second part shifts the scope onto the offspring of Karbaat. After discovering the truth behind their origin as teenagers, some began to seek out other children of the heinous doctor. They formed a group that continued to grow until it reached around 90 members in Holland alone. Director Miriam Guttmann masterfully folds layer after layer of complexity as spectators move from the horror and disgust of the victims to the closure of their children who have created a new, strange family in what is the most thought-provoking of silver linings at the heart of Seeds of Deceit.
Plunging headfirst into the twisted psychology of crazed men, obsessed with producing as many offspring as possible through deception, Guttman pulls back curtains until everything is illuminated. What elevates this riveting documentary high above the quotidian true crime genre is its endeavour to understand how people form an identity and build novel family structures out of such a traumatic event.
Each jaw-dropping reveal is topped by the next. Every interview opens up a new avenue of exploration. Seeds of Deceit is a fascinating examination of human nature gone awry, twisted beyond all recognition and how people can band together to steer it back on course.
Seeds of Deceit does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Seeds of Deceit here: