Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis is set in the summer of 2015 when the Chancellor of Germany welcomed around 800,000 refugees, mostly from war-torn Syria, encountering strong resistance from neighbouring countries, her main opposition party and many of her colleagues.

Director Stephen Wagner’s masterpiece lifts Robin Alexander’s words from the pages of his bestseller, The Driven Ones: Merkel and Her Refugee Policy. Both tell the story of Angela Merkel and her ‘humanitarian imperative’ that almost lost her the following election and continues to divide Germany today.

Merkel is handling the Greek financial crisis when the movie begins. When she hears Hungary has closed its borders to refugees, her focus shifts sharply. So does that of the film. It throws light on the deals made behind the scenes and the fabric of politics in general.

The film portrays Merkel sympathetically. German actor Imogen Kogge concentrates on the essence of this powerful woman rather than resorting to an impersonation or caricature. The result is rounded, respectful and compelling.

Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis is a political thriller based on real-life that will keep you on the edge of your seat and help understand the machinations of parliamentarians.

Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis screens as part of the digital offerings at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival from September 28 through October 7. Visit viff.org for tickets and information.