Scottish actor John Hannah, perhaps best known from his role in The Mummy series alongside Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, will introduce the Czech premiere of the Slovak WWII drama The Auschwitz Report at Prague’s Kino Lucerna on Monday, October 11.
Directed by Peter Bejbak, The Auschwitz Report tells the true story of two Slovak prisoners (played by Noël Czuczor and Peter Ondrejička) who escaped from the Nazi extermination camp in the days preceding WWII, and alerted the world to what was really going on behind closed doors at Auschwitz.
Hannah stars as a Red Cross official to whom the prisoners relay their incredible story. At first, he was skeptical of their claims; the Red Cross had previously been dispatching relief packages to Jewish “refugees” at Auschwitz.
The titular Auschwitz Report from the Slovak escapees was later published alongside other eyewitness accounts as the Auschwitz Protocols, and is credited with putting pressure on Hungarian president Miklós Horthy to stop death camp transports from his country, saving the lives of an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews.
The movie was filmed on locations in the Czech Republic in 2020.
“When you get your hands on such a great scenario, you realize what we have in common with those who have been here before us,” Hannah stated in an interview during production of The Auschwitz Report.
“Their strength and courage is a great inspiration for us. All the more so because in Europe, which is experiencing the longest period of peace and cooperation in history, a wave of hatred, division and fear is rising again. This film is really important, I am proud that I was able to come to the Czech Republic to shoot, to help spread such a story.”
The Auschwitz Report has been selected as Slovakia’s official submission to next year’s Academy Awards, and opened last month in select cities in the United States to positive reviews.
“The immersive historical drama The Auschwitz Report, Slovakia’s submission for the 2020 international film Oscar, tells yet another true-life Holocaust-era tale of courage and daring with harrowing and deeply affecting results,” writes Gary Goldstein for the Los Angeles Times.
“The film is a powerful reminder never to underestimate the historical evils that have been, and could again be, unleashed,” says Variety’s Scott Tobias.
The Auschwitz Report will hit screens across the Czech Republic from Thursday, October 14.