A single mother tries to save her polio-stricken son from the horrors of Nazi eugenics during an interrogation with a high ranking SS official.
Writer/director: Yosef Baraki
Producer: Andrew Korogyi
“Der Kandidat has many specific plot points. It has a fixed time period of the late 1930s, and its subject matter is Nazi eugenics.
But at its heart Der Kandidat is about one simple human quality – the act of sacrifice. The ability to surrender one’s own immediate needs for the sake of something greater than the self, then seeing yourself become greater through this sacrifice.
I am not speaking of any utilitarian ideology here. Rather than focus on what is better for the masses, I regard the theme of sacrifice here as a personal, more spiritual awakening. Elsa gives up her son to die and in the process saves the life of a Jewish doctor and his family. It is a noble deed, but not the most important one for her as an individual.
Her awakening comes after she runs out of options to save her son and must accept that he is going to die. Through this realization, Elsa learns that sacrifice is an ability of great power she possesses within herself. This simply defined and often overlooked tendency is what separates us from all other living things.
Time period, age and social standing all fade and disappear, but a person’s ability to transcend and give himself up to something higher is a source of immeasurable strength burgeoning within all of us. What distinguishes the strong from the weak is the decision to carry out these acts of sacrifice.
When Der Kandidat was greenlit for production, I teamed up with Andrew Korogyi, my producer, who has since been a constant source of strength and understanding in all of my endeavors. I would like to thank him and every member of the cast and crew for putting so much effort into creating a genuine world out of my so often inadequate words.”
About Yosef Baraki
Yosef Baraki is an Afghan-Slovakian filmmaker based in Toronto whose family emigrated from Europe to Montreal in 1998.
After relocating to Toronto in 2003, Yosef started contributing film reviews and short stories to a Persian publication called Ashian Magazine.
His love of writing encouraged Yosef to try his hand at filmmaking. He wrote and directed two short films in high school before moving on to attend the film studies program at Toronto’s York University and then the film and television production program at Humber College where he made three more films.
While at Humber, Yosef wrote a thesis paper on Jacques Lacan’s influence on Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining for which he was awarded the Humber College philosophy award.
Yosef’s fifth short, Der Kandidat, is a 16-minute thesis film about a mother trying to save her son from the horrors of Nazi eugenics. The film won the prestigious Norman McLaren award for best student film at the Montreal World Film Festival and the best international short film award at the Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival. It was also nominated for best cinematography at the 56th Canadian Society of Cinematographers awards.
Yosef is currently in post-production on his first feature film slated for release in 2015.