This gripping film says something encouraging about the justice system and couldn’t be more relevant, in this era of “alternative facts”. It is based on the book by the acclaimed writer and historian, Deborah Lipstadt “History on Trial: My day in Court with a Holocaust denier”. The film opens with the first public encounter between Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and David Irving (Timothy Spall). Irving tries to engage her in a debate, and when she refuses to indulge him, he grabs centre stage by offering $1,000 in cash to anyone who can show that the Nazis killed Jews. Soon after, Lipstadt learns that Irving is suing her for libel. We know the outcome of the trial, and in the film that is where it ends. But today, Holocaust denial is, sadly, very much alive and well.
James Libson, a senior partner at Mischon de Reya LLP, the law firm involved in defending Lipstadt and who was involved as part of the legal team, will be the guest speaker for this evening and will help set the scene and answer questions.
James’ comments at the time of the film’s release are interesting:
“I had read Deborah’s book before the case started and had had another encounter with Irving in a separate piece of litigation. We knew where we stood with him. He came out of a recognisable school of right-wing anti-semitism.
When I heard the movie was going to be made, I was somewhat ambivalent. Of course, most of the ambivalence evaporated when I learned who had been cast to play me. Jack Lowden, who recently played Nikolay Rostov in the BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace is one of the most handsome, up-and- coming stars of his generation.
And he’s thin!! Attending the shoot and watching Jack play me in our offices recreated to their 1998 state with incredible accuracy, was a time-travel moment. It was strange in a way I did not expect. It was like a false memory.
I watched it with the three leading lawyers: my colleague Anthony Julius; Richard Rampton QC; and his “junior” Heather Rogers. The four of us emerged moved and with a renewed sense of the case’s place in our professional lives.
It wasn’t just another case — even though each of us has been involved in equally newsworthy cases and many of greater legal complexity.”
£6 donation per person per includes Refreshments
£30 donation for all films in the 2017-18 season payable in October
All showings will start at 8.15pm