Current occasion: does anyone remember the 43rd President of the United States? If not: George W. Bush made a brief appearance in the brilliant German film “Curveball – Wir Make the Truth”. You can see him stepping in front of the cameras after the attacks of September 11, 2001. “Justice will be done,” he promises his people. A short time later, after Afghanistan, the Americans also attack Iraq. All of this is known, yet some Republicans, right-wing bloggers or do Fox News These days Bush’s successor was responsible for the consequences of the war: Joe Biden should stay away from the commemorative events marking the 20th anniversary of the attacks, they demanded that he had betrayed the country, even calling him a “killer-in-chief”. But in times of alternative facts, truths have long ceased to matter – rather the question of how to use them for your own purposes.
Which brings us to “Curveball”, which tells of fake news when the term didn’t even exist – and of a connection between the German government and the attacks of September 11th. “Based on a true story. Unfortunately,” it says in the opening credits of the film by director Johannes Naber and his co-author Oliver Keidel. With grim humor, they tell the story of the Iraqi asylum seeker Rafid Alwan, who came to Germany in 1999 and calculated better chances to stay when he reported something to the BND about weapons of mass destruction in his home country. The BND man Dr. Wolf, who was unsuccessfully looking for facilities for the production of chemical warfare agents himself in Iraq, should check his statements. These are pretty nebulous – but before he can tell more, says Alwan, he needs an apartment and a German passport.
An embarrassing number that the BND wanted to forget – but by then the Americans had already bitten
So the case of the engineer from Iraq falls into the hands of German state officials, who come across here like chair jerks and finally want to be more than the doormats of the CIA. That is why they respond to the demands. Too bad that Alwan’s statements and his doodles about anthrax trucks are incorrect and will soon be classified as unreliable sources. An embarrassing number that the BND wants to forget as quickly as possible. What is even more stupid is that at this point the Americans are desperately looking for evidence to attack the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein – the stories of the Iraqi engineer in Germany come at just the right time.
The film shows excerpts from the speech given by then US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council in February 2003. You can also see the then German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who doesn’t make a face when the anthrax trucks are mentioned. The rest is history, the Iraq war killed hundreds of thousands of people. That is also the bitter end of this brilliantly told secret service farce, which is not as satirically exaggerated as the thematically similar US films “War Dogs” or “Vice – The Second Man”, but has an even stronger effect.
Johannes Naber (“Time of the Cannibals”) relies on the absurdity of the real events, he does not rely on the seedy Rafid Alwan (played by the Iraqi-born Dane Dar Salim), but tells from the perspective of the bioweapons expert Dr. Wolf (Sebastian Blomberg), a fictional character with real role models. Alwan, who was given the code name “Curveball” because he was supposed to change the game like the eponymous bow in baseball, was exposed a few years later. In 2015 he presented his version of the story in a ZDF documentary. He had long since internalized how to use the truth for his own purposes.
Curveball – We make the truth, D 2020 – Director: Johannes Naber. With: Sebastian Blomberg, Dar Salim, Thorsten Merten, 108 minutes, Filmwelt.