Robert J. Lifton: Nazi Doctors (2010)


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Robert Jay Lifton: renowned psychiatrist, author, founding member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, expert on Nazi doctors. Lifton's 1986 groundbreaking book, "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide," is at the heart of this visit with one of the world's leading thinkers on medical ethics. Lifton describes the process by which he researched and interviewed dozens of doctors who served in Auschwitz ("doctors were at the heart of it"), the circumstances under which they were currently living (financially affluent, some still practicing), and their attitude toward him (nervous, "unctuous"). With measured words and carefully calibrated analysis, he leads us through the "acculturation to killing" that the camps fostered, the process of "splitting" or "doubling" which allowed doctors to strike a Faustian bargain, and his belief that "any one of us might find ourselves in service to evil." This is a fascinating, compelling, profoundly disturbing movie that miraculously leaves one agreeing with Lifton that "there is room for hope." -- (C) Film Forum


Critic Reviews for Robert J. Lifton: Nazi Doctors

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5)

A lazy piece of filmmaking that consists of little more than letting him talk for almost an hour and a half about one of his better-known books.

Oct 8, 2010 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Robert Jay Lifton: Nazi Doctors is a perfect ex ample of how not to make a documentary.

Oct 8, 2010 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

With its contemplative pauses and subtle angle changes, the pic provides a full appreciation of Lifton's analysis and the impact that this study personally had on the man, himself a physician.

Oct 7, 2010 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Lifton's elegantly reasoned, 87-minute response to events that were famously declared to have put an end to poetry brings us closer to the truth of what happened than gruesome images ever could.

Oct 7, 2010 | Full Review…

Less a filmed lecture than a deadly dull cine-sedative.

Oct 6, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

You learn a great deal about the thinker and storyteller in Lifton, but you'll learn so little when it comes to where he truly stands.

Oct 22, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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