The Champagne Spy

Direction
Year 
2007
Country
  • Israel
Duration
91min 
Audio Tracks 
Subtitles 

Cairo, August 1965. Wolfgang Lotz holds the hand of his wife Waltraud as they sit on the accused bench in the high court of the Egyptian Republic. The German couple is accused of espionage and sabotage on behalf of Israel. The Presidential Palace demands a sensational trial and if possible a death sentence.

Oded Gur Arie was 12 when he moved to Paris with his mother "because of dad's work". In a small corner café his father and a "Mossad" (the Israeli Intelligence Agency) operative revealed to Oded that his dad is a covert agent leaving on a mission for the state. They told Oded that he must never speak about this secret because his father's life depended on it. Since that day Oded never spoke about his father, until now.

Major Ze'ev Gur Arie, Oded's dad, was an Israeli officer drafted by the Mossad in 1960 in order to penetrate the circle of German scientists developing weapons of mass destruction in Egypt. German born, Aryan blond and blue eyed, Gur Arie was the perfect candidate for the mission. His Mossad operatives could not foresee that his controversial personality would later cause unpredicted complications. After training in espionage and sabotage and building his covert identity, Gur Arie leaves to Cairo as Wolfgang Lotz – ex Nazi German millionaire and horse breeder. While he gathers information in Cairo, Lotz begins to succumb to his covert identity, living the high life, spending millions and even marrying a German woman he'd met on a train. Oded and his mother are left behind, alone in Paris, waiting for his return. After dramatic incidents, a sensational trial and a few years in prison Lotz returns to Israel but never comes back home. Torn between identities, still addicted to the glamorous life his covert mission allowed him to taste, Lotz doesn't find his place and ultimately leaves Israel which he has served all his life. He ends his days in frustration and poverty, working as a salesman in the fishing department of a Munich department store.

In this film, Oded Gur Arie (55) breaks over 40 years of silence and journeys into his past. For the first time Oded talks about the complicated relations with his father and confronts the heavy price he and his mother had to pay during a life of secrets and deceit in the shadow of the Mossad.

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Details

  • Original title
    The Champagne Spy
  • Direction
  • DOP
    Itai Neeman
  • Editing
    Joelle Alexis
  • Music
    Ran Bagno
  • Sound
    Isachar Vishnia
  • Duration
    91 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
    2007
  • Country
    • Israel
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Festivals
    • Festivals & Awards
    • Won Award of the Israeli Film Academy for Best Documentary
    • Nominated for Best Documentary Award
    • Nominated for Best Mediterranean Documentary
    • Won Special Mention
    • Won John Schlesinger Award
    • Won Special Jury Prize for Best Editing
    • 2007 Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, Israel
    • 2007 European Film Awards
    • 2007 Seville EuroDocs, Spain
    • 2007 DocAviv International Documentary Film Festival, Israel
    • 2007 Copenhagen International Film Festival, Denmark
    • 2007 Seattle International Film Festival, USA
    • 2007 BFI London Film Festival, UK
    • 2007 Los Angeles International Film Festival, USA
    • 2007 Munich International Film Festival, Germany
    • 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada
    • 2007 Hamburg International Film Festival, Germany
    • 2007 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, Netherlands
    • 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA
    • 2008 RiverRun International Film Festival, USA

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