The subject of eugenics bears heavy on human history, and yet Fog in August is the first feature film to address the Nazi euthanasia programme from World War II. Based on Robert Domes’s 2008 novel, the feature examines this weighty topic through the real-life story of 13-year old Ernst Lossa – a Yenish boy who was committed to a psychiatric hospital situated in Sargau in 1942.
Concealed behind the façade of a mental institution, the facility’s staff slowly execute their patients – children with disabilities or behavioural problems – for the irrational logic of “race hygiene.” Through director Kai Wessel’s sensibility and rigour, the viewer is drawn into an unsettling realm where Dr Werner Veithausen (Sebastian Koch) is convinced that he is helping those who do not meet the standards of the Third Reich. New arrival Lossa (Ivo Pietzcker) unearths the truth and looks to sabotage the hospital’s activities – to spare the lives of his friends.
A moving and critical feature, Fog in August pays tribute to over 5,000 victims, whilst also highlighting contemporary society’s attitudes towards disabilities and the implications of prenatal diagnosis.
Fog in August is directed by Kai Wessel. For more information: www.studiocanal.co.uk
1. Trailer for Fog in August. Courtesy of StudioCanal and Youtube.