A film by Chris Wright, Stefan Kolbe
2021, 111 minutes
No. 391

How to portray a murderer? For many years German filmmakers Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe were in intensive contact with Stefan S., who murdered a colleague 15 years ago after stalking her. Now it’s his last year in jail, and he is being prepared for his return to society. This includes undergoing various types of therapy, including group sessions on “Masculinity and Identity.”

Stefan doesn’t want to be recognizable in the film, so a puppeteer re-enacts his conversations with care professionals. Though Stefan had made such a mild-mannered impression on the filmmakers, the frozen expression in the hand puppet’s face also evokes feelings of discomfort.

The film’s title reflects the filmmakers’ interpretation of Stefan’s story, as if it were the history of an illness told by a patient to a physician. The matter of whether the story is true is not of primary importance here. Stefan’s counselors believe that lying can be a good sign, because it demonstrates an awareness of shame and guilt. An intriguing portrait of an elusive individual, one that confronts us with our own interpretations of truth—and those of the people around us.

Official Selection, Berlinale
Official Selection, CPH:DOX
Official Selection, IDFA