A compelling tale reminds us of the primacy of truth

Outstanding performances by three of Britain's finest actors - Timothy Spall, Rachel Weisz and Tom Wilkinson - can be seen next Wednesday, September 20 at the Curzon cinema,

Friday, 15th September 2017, 1:23 pm
Updated Friday, 15th September 2017, 1:27 pm

The film which brings them together is Denial, the opening presentation in the new season by the Eastbourne Film Society.

As ever, seats for the public are available at all three screenings on that date and it is an occasion not to be missed.

On one level Denial is a court drama and one that is all the more gripping because the story it tells is a true one and has the advantage of an original screenplay written by the distinguished playwright Sir David Hare.

But this film also has an importance that goes beyond most films dealing with a legal battle.

That’s because the denial of the title is that of David Irving, the man who declared that the Holocaust never happened and then proceeded to sue the American historian Deborah Lipstadt for libel when she challenged his claims.

He sued her in 1996 and brought the action in Britain knowing that in this country the onus in court is on the accused to prove that what they have said is true.

Lipstadt turned to the barrister Sir Richard Rampton to represent her.

She would discover just how hard it is to prove the truth of an event like the Holocaust in strictly legal terms.

In this compelling drama Lipstadt is played by Rachel Weisz, Irving by Timothy Spall and Rampton by Tom Wilkinson, while up-and-coming Andrew Scott (recently seen on the West End stage as Hamlet) plays a supporting role.

Since Irving has never altered his view and since even today others in the world are ready to fly in the face of fact and deny the Holocaust, it is important that films like this one should exist: the truth can never be asserted too often.

Preview by Alex Buchan