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The evil or the unbearable?

Le Vénérable W. ("The Honorable W.")
Regissør: Barbet Schroeder

Now, with the banishment of the royals: The last part of Barbet Schroeder's Trilogy of Evil deals with the Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu – the primus engine for anti-Muslim doings and barns in Myanmar.

After his first fiction movie More (1969) – a drama featuring a hippie heroine who was mainly influenced by collaboration with Pink Floyd – Schroeder directed a documentary on Uganda's dictator Idi Amin. It was a great surprise to the audience, and to Schroeder himself.

The other two of the trilogy. The idea of ​​making a series of documentaries malice – or rather about "human monsters" that represent the evil – was the beginning of Schroeder's triology.

I General Idi Amin Dada – A Self Portrait (1974) presented the Ugandan dictator with his simple, narcissistic personality, almost without inhibition. With Amin, the filmmaker discovered an uncomfortable truth: that a general who took power by military coup, and who held onto it by expelling and murdering hundreds of thousands of opposition members – including senior intellectuals, scientists, politicians and respected local leaders – had a fondness for humor as well as childlike and naive traits.

Schroeder had never before been in such close contact with a cold-blooded killer, nor had he envisaged such an opportunity. So he decided to follow this trail.

The second film of triology – Terror's Advocate (2007) – addresses controversial lawyer Jacques Vergès, who defended, among others, Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie, Serbia's ex-president Slobodan Miloševic and terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (aka Carlos or "The Jackal").

Unfortunately, "evil (closet)" is still the most common term used by the media to create a simplified and false image of history.

With the Vergès documentary, Schroeder had the same goal in mind as with the movie about Amin; do not judge, but understand how these awful personalities are created and what circumstances make them possible. The term the evil is therefore deceptive – it refers to a metaphysical dimension, and suggests a force and manipulation from an external source that creates and manifests itself as evil.

Common expression. The concept of evil, or evil, is an intellectual catastrophe in that it frees a phenomenon from its social, political and psychological context – a context that produces, confirms. . .

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Wieczorek is a critic living in Paris.

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