Hidden away on the other side of the world 15 years after World War II ended, a team of agents from an Israeli security agency intercepted a man named Ricardo Klement, a name they knew to be an alias for Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Nazi’s “Final Solution.”
This fascinating story has been the subject of several books, articles, documentaries and features, including, most recently, “Operation Finale,” starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley as Eichmann and opening in theaters this week.
According to one filmmaker, “Operation Finale” isn’t even the whole story. Randall Christopher is the director of “The Driver Is Red,” a short film making the festival circuit that played at Sundance earlier this year and also just won TheWrap’s Industry Prize at the ShortList Film Festival.
The animated, hybrid documentary short likewise tells the story of the capture of Eichmann, but, he tells TheWrap, his film is based on the perspective of one of the lesser known “unsung heroes” of the operation: Zvi Aharoni.
“Operation Finale” is based largely on the account of Peter Malkin and his book “Eichmann in My Hands,” which was also adapted into a TV movie starring Robert Duvall, called “The Man Who Captured Eichmann.” But Christopher says Malkin’s account is “heavily embellished,” saying that Malkin was, in some regards, more of the muscle on the job, the one who physically grabbed Eichmann, rather than the mastermind behind the operation.
“Zvi Aharoni only wrote his book in the ’90s, he’s really open about this, to set the record straight,” Christopher said. “He would’ve never written that book if Peter Malkin had never written his book.”
Christopher added that Malkin may have had an axe to grind with Aharoni and even downplayed Aharoni’s role in his telling of the events. Christopher points to an article in which some of the surviving members of the team said that Aharoni was the one who provided the greatest contribution to the mission.
“People always puff up a little bit what they did,” Christopher said, explaining why there are so many conflicting accounts of this one moment in history.
While “Operation Finale” may provide the slick, Hollywood action version of the story, Christopher hopes that his short can serve as a helpful counterpoint to the more widely known version of events.
“I had a real priority in faithfulness to what happened. I wasn’t trying to make a Hollywood movie,” Christopher said. “I would say, check out ‘The Driver is Red’ because it has this unknown history about this operation people don’t know about.”
You can read more about “The Driver is Red” on TheWrap, and see below for an upcoming list of festivals where you can catch a screening of the short:
- Odense International Film Festival (Denmark)
- Nova Frontier Film Festival, Brooklyn
- DC Shorts Film Festival, Washington DC
- Quebec City Film Festival
- Gig Harbor Film Festival, WA
- Conscious Cartoons Film Festival, WA
- Calgary International Film Festival
- Edmonton International Film Festival
- 3D Wire, Segovia, Spain
- Hamptons International Film Festival, Hamptons NY
- Joyce Forum Short Film Festival, San Diego
- Ojai Short Film Festival, CA
- San Diego Film Festival, San Diego
- San Jose International Short Film Festival