El fotógrafo de Mauthausen (2018) - full transcript

The story of the Catalan photographer Francisco Boix. An inmate in the Austrian concentration camp of Mauthausen.


Over 7.000 Spaniards crossed
the gate of Mauthausen,

they came from fighting Hitler
along with the French,

they came from the misery and hunger
of the refugee camps,

they came from losing a civil war...

After being arrested by German troops,

Serrano Suñer, a Francoist Minister,
took their nationality away.

To the Francoists,
they were not even Spaniards.

The Nazis could do with them
whatever they wanted...


In Mauthausen,
everything is set to impress you.

It is merely a show.

The kapos... They are actors
who believe their own character.

If you give a common prisoner a club,
he will become a jailer.

Those with green triangles
were the first to arrive.

Criminals, rapists, murderers...

The fritzes' spoiled boys.

For the Chief
of the Identification Service,

the most important thing
is the staging of the show.

Paul Ricken, the eyes of Mauthausen.

He never leaves his Leica behind.

Franz Ziereis,
the director of the show.

Mauthausen's supreme commander.





The Erkennungsdienst:
the identification service.

Two darkrooms and 210 meters
used to document

and take pictures of everything
happening in the camp.

I quickly realized about it.

They needed photographers there
and I turned out to be one.

I did not want to hit anyone
nor be hit.

My only choice
was being out of the picture.

By the way, I am not this rookie
sitting in front of me.

I am already taking part in the show.

It isn't that bad, is it?

I'm doing well.

You know...

It will only happen to you
if you try to escape.

Here we are prisoners of war.
They can't do anything to us.

They took my father.

In a black van?

You have to be careful, boy.

Let's see...

If you don't take care of yourself,
the rest won't either.

Look, here you will find
people from everywhere:

Polish, Russians,
criminals, politicians, Germans,

Austrians... and Jews.

We, the Spaniards,
were the first to come.


we are blue triangles.

You know what it means, don't you?

To the fritzes, we are stateless.

Where have they taken him?

Calm down, he was taken to Gusen,

five kilometers away from here,
your father will be fine.

Well, in fact,
he'll be better than here.

Gusen is like an infirmary and you
already know who works in infirmaries.

- Who?
- What do you mean "who"?


Your father's been very lucky, boy.

I wish Greta could take care of me,

or Elsa...

No, Gertrud...
Yes, Gertrud has big boobs...

It is much better like this.

I am Francesc Boix.

Anselmo... Anselmo Galván.



You know what?

You are one of the first people
I'll be photographing here, Anselmo.



Move over.

Why did you lie to the boy?

No one comes back from Gusen alive.

Without hope, that boy won't survive
here even five minutes.

What would you know?
You arrived only two months ago.

"Nach un Nebel".

Night and...?

Fog. Night and fog.

Who taught you the art of photography?

My father.

Was he a photographer?

A tailor.

On Sundays,

we used to close the doors
and windows of the kitchen

and set up a small laboratory.

It's not that bad for a tailor's son.

However, it could be better.

A good photographer must know
how to paint with light.

That is cheating.

This is art.

Some pictures have to be touched up,

some others, only the staging.

Human beings are malleable.

I like it.

Be careful.

It used to turn onlookers to stone.

I like having some
artists as references.

I prefer taking pictures of reality.

Reality doesn't exist, Franz.

It all depends on the point of view.

Don't forget it.

Cover the trays.


Clear everything up,
we will continue later.


There he is.

Do you have my stuff?

Follow me.

How much?


- Who knows who their owner was...
- Now they belong to you.

- Six.
- Eight at least.

Not eight.

Ok, ok.

Hurry, load the storage
boxes into the truck!

Move, you slackers!


Change this man for that one. Now!

I've got your stuff.

I didn't take you for a dandy, Valbuena.


One of the big bosses
will visit us in a few days.

- Kaltenbrunner?
- Aim higher.


Tell the Standartenführer that
the prisoners came in a terrible state.

As thin as rakes.

They tried to escape,
but we managed to shoot them down.

Has someone touched the bodies?


One spotlight here,

another one there.


They weren't trying to escape.

They were shot from the front.


They don't match...

The identification number doesn't match

with the one on the photograph
and they are the same person.

Enough! Bring the copies
to the Political Office...

- But look...
- That's what you must do.

Come on.

Hat on!

Hat off!


On the ground!


Stand up!

The copies of the Gusen escapees.

Can you explain this to me?

Pay attention to the numbers.

He must have changed
shirts with someone.

They have also changed the register.

It could have been a mistake...

I'll fix it.

There are many mistakes...

Are you going to report me?

Buy her some flowers.

She is fed up with flowers.

Fill in the death certificate
of these Polish

and write a condolence letter
to the families.

A pearl necklace?

She doesn't like
wearing jewels from others.

What about a portrait?

A family portrait.

Tomorrow at the Erkennungsdienst.

I could do it.

Your wife would love it.

Your behavior is damaging us.
You're a communist, for fuck's sake.

Here I'm an ordinary prisoner.

Yes... and also a communist.
The Party speaks through my mouth.

Then the party is paranoid

and should brush its teeth more often.

As if you didn't work for them.


We change the numbers.

The dead won't need them anymore

and the Night and Fog
need to change their name.

We save lives.

There are 35 ways
of dying in Mauthausen:

a gas chamber, a lethal injection,

torn apart by dogs,
cold showers in winter...

But the worst of them is dying
by exhaustion on the stairs of death.

We built it with our own hands.

Each step is stained
with the blood of a Spaniard.

Cristóbal Rosales,
29 years old, from Madrid,

professional dancer and communist.
A Night and Fog.

A Nacht und Nebel.

The Nazis want him dead.

And this is José Pino.

33 years old, Catalan, electrician
and suffering from tuberculosis.

Both are sentenced to death.

We can save only one of them.

I am José Pino Carballo.

I am 33 years old
and was born in Barcelona.

I am an electrician,
I had two children...

You have two children.

When we leave, you'll visit them
and give them your condolences,

but now we should be practical.

Do you do it only with party members?

Only with those we trust.
We cannot do it with all of them.

Can you change numbers
with a prisoner of Gusen?

Can you get a job for a Night and Fog?

A photograph is made by light,

but we need darkness
for the trick to work.


the knocks are for the bubbles
not to get stuck to the film.

We put the photographic paper

here, look, in the developer.

And you hang it to dry.

- What are you doing here?
- We were leaving already.

- Ricken forbids us to be in the lab.
- I was just showing the rookie around.

Leave. Leave.

Have you found the mistake,
stupid communist Spaniard?

He's officially dead.

Even his family has been notified.

Can you explain to me how it happened?

It must have been
a mistake from the Rottenführer.

Maybe if...

What is the word...?

...we wrote an apology
letter to his family...

Spaniards, right?
Do you have a cigarette?

Here you are.

A SS officer never makes mistakes.

Clean it!

You were right...

My wife will love them.

If you allow me to say it,

your methods are too...
how to say it... too drastic.

We cannot allow them to think
that we make mistakes, Oberscharführer.

Have you never been mistaken,

I have not.

And if I ever have,
I'll make sure to hide it.

This corpse cannot be left here.

Nobody will believe this man
was shot down while escaping.

Take him there.

It is not electrified.

Come on!

Come on! Come on!

You, move faster!

Those at the front of the line
only get dirty water

and those at the end, only a small
portion, but if you stay here,

in the middle you can get
some meat and potatoes.

I have been told that Gusen
is a terrible quarry.

They say that so people
don't pretend to be ill.

He sends you regards.

Have you seen him?

At the infirmary?

We have seen
that prisoners panic in the dark

and tend to be unpredictable.

Don't forget to turn on the light.

The other improvements...


In a few minutes,
everything is solved.

Fast, effective and clean.



There is no need for uniforms.
Get in. Get in!

I thought that the priority
was the exploitation of prisoners.

Would you still use a razor
even if it's blunt?

Close the door.

What are you stupid
Spaniards doing inside?



"The sacrifice of the Sixth army
has not been in vain,

Generals, Officers,
Sub-officers and teams

they fought shoulder to shoulder
until the last cartridge.

They have died so Germany can live".


The Nazis have lost Stalingrad!

Very good news.

And what is going to happen now?

Come on, get back to your places!

And wipe that smile off your faces,
God damn it!

Why are you upset?

So far, the Nazis thought
they would win the war.

Imagine what could happen
if they realize that they can lose it.

It's your turn.

This morning we were ordered
to destroy the copies you send us.

Now, we know why.

It cannot happen again, understood?

Yes, sir.

Follow me.

Ziereis has ordered to burn everything.

I will do it.

No, the two of you will be faster.

Destroy everything
but the propaganda pictures.

And those from Himmler too,

there should be no trace
of his visit to the camp.


- Yes, sir!
- Yes, sir!

What are you doing?

What are you...?

We can't burn the evidence
of what they've done.

If Ricken finds out...

If Ricken finds out,
I'll know it was you.

You know what the Party does
to rats like you?

They cut their balls off
and let them bleed to death.

Let me go, for God's sake,
let me go.

It's better to use a new negative,

otherwise they'll realize
when they burn it.


Should not we take
what is left in the laboratory?

The others will do it.

Today has been a hard day.

Come on, Franz.

Or would you rather pleasure yourself?

Good afternoon, Magda.

Enjoy, Franz, you've earned it.

Come with me!

Wash yourself.

There is no place
for filthy things here.

One comes to have normal sex here
on the Reich's account.

It is forbidden to speak
or exchange things.

If you break the rules,
you'll be sent to the Hole.

You have 20 minutes.
Do not waste your time.

Are you Spanish?

Whore, alcoholic, anarchist...

- Whatever you please...
- Well, to me...

If you keep working well,

you'll get overtime in here on me.


We save lives, not photographs.

We have to hide them
in different places,

they aren't important
if they are separated.

How do you intend to do it? If they
find them they'll shoot us down.

Ok, as you wish.

You aren't my only option.
The Party isn't only you.

You'll need people you can trust.

You can trust "el Lejías".

We used to work together before.

They aren't pictures,
they are negatives...

Come in! Quickly!

The negatives are easy to hide.

I won't risk my life for some photos.

You lost a brother
in here, right, "Lejías"?

We have all lost someone here.


Don't they deserve justice?

We have pictures
of our murdered comrades,

of Himmler and the leaders
of the SS visiting the camp.

We have proof to accuse them.

Do you really want all
of this to be forgotten?

Nobody will believe us
if we don't do this.


They took me to Ravensbrück.

I was told that I would be free
in six months if I became a whore.

I've been here almost a year.

Would you like to do something
against the fritzes?

Look, look, look.

Fucking queers.

We are rehearsing a play.

And you are the one responsible for this?

A queer!

Fucking kapo...

What is it about?
A drama? A comedy?

- Sorry?
- The play you are working on.

A variety show.

The kapo wanted to speak with Ziereis.
But I will handle it.

Some entertainment would do us good.

Where do they take them?

That man is Mr. Poschacher.
He owns a quarry on the outskirts.

The lucky guys go with him.

Outside there is work
and life is better.

- Did you ask him about that?
- Yes.

The guy came here voluntarily.
He didn't want to go with the Poschacher.

They took him to Gusen
early in the morning.


Do you like it?

This isn't yours.

It is now.
He won't need it in Gusen.

Take this.

Are you going to buy me off
with some cigarettes?

Music helps to raise the spirits.

What do you want?

You owe me one.

He's a green triangle.
He can report us.

He won't.

I am sure he'll want
something in return.

We can't trust him.

I'd rather trust the greedy
than the cowards.

Where did you hide them?

Calm down, they're safe.
The less you know, the better.

What do you have there?

We have to put the negatives
on the granite boxes shipped to Berlin.

I don't think Hitler
will be interested in our negatives.

We could divert one of the boxes

with a document
with a stamp from your office.

- Who would pick up the negatives?
- Someone could travel with them.

Within the box?
Are you kidding me?

- I'll do it.
- It's crazy!

It's not that crazy.
I'll tell everything happening here.

And with evidence.

I'll only take a small part,

but I'll open a tunnel,
an exit gate.

And we can send you
the rest once you're safe.

I'll need some official documents,
some clothes and food...

They got into our barracks.


Move! Move!


There he is! Bring him!

The negatives
must be taken out of here immediately.

I am not guilty! Not guilty!

We have a plan.

We have an awesome hero.

And we have a good smoke screen.

If the fritzes want some good
entertainment, they'll have it.

And after dying,
he didn't speak again...

The box is finally heading to Poland,
to the Soviet border.

Put this on, you will look smarter.

I guess that going from prisoner
to beggar is a promotion.

You are going to miss me, aren't you?

Thank Bonarewitz for the wigs.

- Break a leg, guys!
- Yes!

Break a leg.

Let's go, guys,
we are about to begin.

Meine Damen und Herren,

mesdames et messieurs,


and gentlemen...

after an international tour
around France...

The fantastic...

and awesome company...

La Española!

As a kid I lived in Aragon

And now I am half-German

I hope I will become a Russian

Or even an American

But that cannot be done

What a successful


Are you leaving?
We are on the best part.

I have to make my night rounds.



Sing something for Mr. kapo.

If there is a cattle contest

Don't show up

They may get confused

And give you the first prize

What is he saying?

Is he laughing at me?

No, no...

He said that Russians
fear you more than Panzers.

Do you smoke?

Here you have.

Thank you.

It's a beautiful night.

I brought sausages,


Damn it, you have set
an apartment for me.

A little small.

At least I won't hear
Lejías snoring...

Let me tell you a story...

now that we are friends.

Three hundred Dutch Jews
arrived here one day.

The SS didn't know
what to do with them.

So they decided to have fun.

They made the first one hundred
go up the stairs.

You know how slippery
that damn thing is.

Thank you.

I was told that Mr. Paco's daughter
has started to smoke...

Once they were on top,
they told them to wait.

And then...
then they let the dogs loose.

The Jews started to run.

They were running down,

they stepped on each other,

they slipped,
ran over each other,

crushed each other
to get down first.


For what?

For what?

Thank you.

Not one left alive...

Then they made
the next hundred go up.

She always brings tobacco with her
even when she's at home with her sister

And only half an hour later

She has smoked all
her cigs with her sis...

The stair of death...
It's not a bad name.

This is my favorite name.

The skydivers' wall.

Nice, isn't it?

When their father drops his guard,

his wife smokes his cigarettes
in the backyard

And since he loves her deeply

He doesn't have any other choice,

but to smoke the butts
of the cigarettes.

You didn't understand
anything, did you?

Thank you.

I just wanted to tell you

how much I liked your show.

So? Are you afraid?

What do you think?

I want to see my son.

He's almost five now.

Almost as long as I've been here.

He's in Poland, in an orphanage,
I want to see him.


I'm sorry, I cannot let you go
into that box.

What are you doing?

We can do this the easy way
or the hard way.

- Come down, they'll kill us!
- I'm already dead.


Give them to me.
I'll take them with me.


Take it easy.
I hate Nazis more than you do.

I'll only show them when I'm safe.

OK, but wait a bit.

Once you're safe,
you need to publish an obituary

in Der Angriff
for Fritz von Stroheim.

Fritz von Stroheim.

Then we'll know you're safe
and we'll send you the rest.

Besides, it's a good fit.


This won't fit you as well.

I've been preparing it for some time.

Trust me.


Don't let us down.
Remember, Fritz von Stroheim.

You owe me a pack of Lucky Strikes.

How many?

How is that possible?

Count again, you idiots!


There is one missing?

Good morning.

This is your new home.

Clean and warm.



I read the obituaries
from the last few days. There is nothing.

He played us.
I told you we couldn't trust him.

Von Stroheim will die, trust me.

The one I don't trust is Bonarewitz.

Have faith.

And remember to...

Excuse me, sir.

Did the other prisoners
not measure up?

He has an interesting physique,
don't you think?

Slightly interesting.

What's different is always
more interesting than what's normal.

It depends on the point of view.

No more bad jokes.
Stand next to him.

Excuse me?

Stand next to him.

I want to take a picture
of you with the dwarf.

Like a circus freak.

Perfect, wait a moment.
Get dressed!

It's not that bad.

- You speak Spanish?
- And German as well.

I'm sorry.
I thought you were Russian.

I'm Austrian, Jew...
and a language teacher.

I'm sorry.

Don't worry.
Being different has its advantages.

The other day they even
took me to the brothel.

Where is Boix?

What is the matter?


Where are we going?

I told you to bring him
in through the back.

Today my eldest son is ten.

I heard very good things
about your pictures, number 5.185.

Thank you, sir.

Thank Ricken, he recommended you.

It'll be a good memento for my son.

Dress him up.

May I offer you something to eat?
Are you hungry? No? Go away!

You can't take a sentimental approach,
Mr. Poschacher.

We are at war.

No, of course not.

I'm just saying
their performance would improve

if they had better conditions.

I wouldn't go against
a decision from Berlin of course.



Your hand... on her shoulder.


Your family is very photogenic.

Would you like a picture
of your family alone?

- Just my family?
- Yes, your family.


Bring Lily.

Excuse me, sir.

I could not help overhearing
your conversation with Ziereis.

Could I recommend you...
that young man?

- For me?
- Yes.

- Leave me alone.
- Don't draw attention to us.

I got you an opportunity
to get you out of the camp.

I have negatives on me with proof
of what they do to us.

I need you to hide them.
Help me.

The Eagle, uh?

Look, here. Happy birthday!

It's a nice birthday, isn't it?

I wanted to thank you, sir,
for your recommendation.



Hey, young man!

Lower your gun!



This is not a toy, Siegfried.

I'll show you how to use it. Come!

Focus on aiming at the center.

Don't let your hand tremble.
Shoot only then.

I'm leaving.

Be careful.

German music can sometimes be too...


Do you understand?


A hunter must learn to shoot
moving animals.

Franz... Don't you think
he has played enough?

I'm not playing.

I'm teaching him how to hunt.

Don't let them trick you. A monkey
looks like a person but it's not one.

Now you know how to do it.


this boy...

This boy could be useful
for Mr. Poschacher's quarry.

If you don't want to be next,

don't interfere.

I'm spending lots of money
just to maintain them

and even then,
they keep dropping like flies.

With confidence.

Without fear.

He's young.
He's a useful prisoner.

- Shoot!
- Please, at least leave me this one.

Alright, keep it
if you want it so much.

Do it for your father.


Young man,


You'll work for the quarry commando.

It's not paid
but you'll have a bed to sleep on

and documents
as a civilian foreign worker.

- Good morning, Mrs. Pointner.
- Good morning, Mr. Poschacher.

Boys, wake up!

Pérez... With this
you'll never find a woman.

And who will wash my clothes then?

Ah... blah, blah, blah.

Spanish, right?

Welcome. Come.

Can we trust her?

Yeah, yeah.
She's one of us.

You can ask her whatever you want.

Sit down.


Go! Faster!

It looks like the fritzes
would like some more theater.

Let this punishment be an example.

No one escapes
from Mauthausen's concentration camp.



Quickly, quickly.

I like it very much,

it reminds me of Peter Brueghel.

What a shame,

the copies are out of focus.

Son of a bitch.

You'll need to repeat these two.

You're a son of a bitch!

What did you say?

You're worse than them.

I won't tolerate disobedience!


You enjoy watching
how others kill, don't you?

How others are moved,
how they cry, how they suffer...

How... how they fuck.

You're a voyeur who spies
on the world through an eyehole.

You don't have the balls
to do anything. No you don't.

How dare you?

Silence now!

Or what?

Come on, shoot!

You only know how to shoot
with your damn camera. Come on, shoot!

Pull the trigger!

Immortalize the moment!
Come on, Ricken!

Come on!

Come on!

Are you crazy, Franz?

Hit him hard,
but not in the face.

Do you know what it means to be hungry?

To have an empty stomach

day after day?

Without anyone to talk to.

I'm lucky I have the worms.

I talk to them

and then I eat them,
so that they won't tell anyone.




You thought I was a traitor.


You and your friends,
you thought I was a traitor.

I'm a hero,

I'm a hero because
I didn't tell them anything.

You knew nothing...
What could you tell them?

Your friend also did it.

On the other side of the hole.


The one in the box.

He also ended up eating worms.

And you'll do it too, don't worry...
You will. You'll do it too.

Have you done it already?

Have you eaten worms?

You know what?

- He ate more than worms your friend.
- Shut up.

No, you shut the fuck up
and listen to me!

Your friend Hans not only ate worms...

He also ate negatives.

Yes... Strips of negatives.

Of course...
Negatives don't have proteins.

So he ate them from behind.

That's why they didn't find them
in the box. He had them inside.

Where are they?

I don't know... Look for them.

Look, look, look, look.

Cold, cold, cold, cold.


Warm. Hot. Hot. You'll get burned.

You got burned.

Where are they?

It was me...

It was me or the worms.

And one can't trust worms...

Because no matter how many you eat...

Then, they'll eat you in the end.

You want them, don't you?

Well, I'm a hero or not?

You're a hero, Valbuena.

A true hero.

Where are they?

Where are the negatives?

I do not know.

If we don't recover those negatives,

I will personally hold
you accountable for their loss.

Is that clear?

Tell them what they want.

Are you afraid of getting
your hands dirty?

The negatives?

I don't know
if it's American or Russian...

but the music on the other side
of the Danube sounds heavenly.

No. No. No.

Hurry up!

Let's go!



Gas! Gas!

Valbuena! Gas! Gas!


Stop! What the hell is going on?

It's been taken apart.

What should I do with them now?

Come on! Get out!

Get out of there! Come out! Out!


On your knees!

All on your knees! Down!

But, sir...
It is useless to kill us now.

Anyone else have something to say?


Remember I spared your lives.

Get in!


Take me with you!
Leave me a weapon!

Back! Go back to the barracks!

Back to the barracks!

Back to the barracks!

The kapos took the weapons
the Nazis left behind.

Take this,
we have to defend ourselves.


I only took pictures.

I haven't killed anyone.
You know that.

I immortalize them.

I'm innocent.

I only followed orders.

That's what you'll be judged for.

Tell me,

tell me that my work is safe.




Thank you.

Take a nice picture of us.

Do you recognize among the accused

any visitor that went to Mauthausen

while you were interned there?