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Post"A Taste for Evil": David Pike's WWII Film Project (David Pike, France, 08/28/19 5:14 pm)
Dear Fellow Members of the World Association of International Studies,
I have the great pleasure of presenting to you the work that has engaged me for quite some time. I am under contract to the Babieka Film Company in Madrid with my feature film A Taste for Evil. We are in search of a director with sufficient stature and professional capacity to take on the role. To this end, we have prepared this Illustrated Grand Synopsis for your perusal.
In casting our net for a film director, we started at the top, but we ran into the obstacle that the directors we approached had already directed a film on the same period, albeit in no way the same theme. Among these was Steven Spielberg to whom my cousin Stephen Woolley (who won an Oscar for The Crying Game) presented the script. Steven praised the script but had to decline. So too did Costa Gavras who wrote a warm endorsement but declined on account of having done Amen. So too did Polanski, for The Pianist. Miloš Forman had previously worked with Babieka Films on Goya's Ghosts and had received from his agent Denis Aspland the warmest encouragement to direct A Taste. Nevertheless, Miloš wrote to say that he could not bring himself to step back into a concentration camp after having lost half his family to the Nazis. Among others, we began working with Joseph Vilsmaier of Munich, but the impediment that ended this connection was his inadequate command of English. Similar disappointment came with the withdrawal of Robert Swaim, who already holds a César and who remains today gung-ho to take on the direction, but a serious illness now prevents it.
These are all famous film directors. The one we are looking for may be far less known, and yet perfect for the job.
You will observe from the attached document that two-thirds of this film derives from the eight books and many chapters that I have published in five languages on the story of KL-Mauthausen. The other third of A Taste is the fruit of my imagination. I have invented only one character, Elke's lover. All the other characters retain their names except for the protagonist, whose real name, Brigitte Sombeck, appears in that form in my books. I continue to receive reports of her. This young woman was the inspiration for it all, precisely because of the accounts concerning her that I picked up from the survivors. Among these was Iakovos Kambanellis who went on to become a leading Greek dramatist. At Mauthausen he was a prisoner-clerk in the same Politische Abteilung in which Elke worked as an SS secretary. I interviewed Iakovos in Athens and he, like other survivors, assured me that she was everything that you would never expect to find among the ten young women who made up the SS secretarial pool. The compassion for the prisoners that she did her best to hide from her colleagues put her own life in danger, but because she may still be alive and (in her nineties) sitting this evening in a cafe in Vienna, I had to change her name. In my efforts to make contact with her I received all possible help from the Director-General of Pensions in Vienna, and he confirmed what I knew already: that these ten young women, even though they had committed no crime, were terrified of having to appear in court as witnesses and had made sure to take out new identities. The reason for their fear, of course, was the vengeance that would surely be wrought upon them by surviving SS.
In looking at the Grand Synopsis, the reader will quickly notice the existence of a sub-plot, that of the two Spanish prisoners who were employed in KL-Mauthausen in the Erkennungsdienst or Photo Identification Service. The dozen photographs shown at the Nuremberg Tribunal were part of a collection of one thousand that make up over 95 percent of all the photos that survive of a Nazi camp in actual operation. It is equally remarkable that these thousand photographs were stolen, hidden and ultimately saved by a handful of Spanish prisoners. It was a uniquely Spanish enterprise, save for the role played by Anna Pointner, the bravest woman in Austria.
All this is to say that I present this screenplay as a work different from all others in the genre. I dare to call it History Central, and Nuremberg in the Cradle.
In the search for a film director, please let me know of any lead that you would like us to pursue. I repeat that the film director we are looking for may not be of great fame. The script, which has passed through Reader Associates in Los Angeles and has been formatted to professional rules, will be sent to any film director on request.
And with my deepest thanks in advance,
JE comments: WAISers, I typically observe my anniversary as editor (August 28th) with a moment of self-reflection. This, my 13th anniversary, I prefer to celebrate with the Dean of WAISdom, David Wingeate Pike, and his gripping film script A Taste for Evil, which I read in its entirety earlier this year. (Thank you, David!) Roman Zhovtulya, our IT Director, has uploaded the Grand Synopsis to our publications page, which can be accessed at the link below. The synopsis itself reads like a novel--and it is beautifully illustrated, if you can say such a thing about Mauthausen.
Please enjoy David's Synopsis, and share it far and wide...especially if you know any film directors who could take on such an awe-inspiring project.
And thank you, WAISers, for entrusting the editorship to me for 13 years. This is the best job in the world.