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Film Review: In God We Trust

By David Rogers at the screening in Vienna's Haydn Cinema.

Five years after Madoff's fraud was exposed and after hundreds of millions have been spent trying to unravel exactly what happened two American filmmakers have tackled the issue in a new documentary

American Terminator franchise owners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson set themselves a difficult task in getting anybody interested, not only is the story old news now for many people but in addition complicated financial fraud does not exactly lend itself to exciting viewing.

The documentary get round that problem by approaching it from the point of view of Madoff's longtime secretary Eleanor Squillari who was given a job 25 years ago by Madoff himself.

It is a novel approach and it works, allowing the pieces of the Madoff plot to be unravelled but at the same time offering the personal angle from Eleanor as she travels around speaking to people who were involved with the narrative filling in the technical details in between.

It makes a difficult subject well worth watching, with personal insights of the fly-on-the-wall type about the Madoff fraud that can never be gleaned from more static newspaper reports.

If there is any criticism it slows down with the screenshots of photographs and document scans that don't exactly make for good television but on the other hand there was a great musical score that keep things moving and a good dialogue and lots of interesting information that has been dug up by the programme makers.

They accompanied Eleanor she spoke to a lot of people that were involved with Madoff built up a picture from those that knew even before or after ranging from investigators and book authors through to former employees.

The film was premiered in Europe in Austria and then returned again a short while later this Monday for a screening in Vienna sponsored by the Freedom Party which this year is campaigning on corruption in Austrian politics and business and wanted to highlight the film which also includes a section on Sonja Kohn and her role in the Madoff fraud.

It starts off with Eleanor speaking: "My name is Eleanor and for the last 25 years I was Bernie Madoff's secretary." All in all it was well worth watching and with an estimated 3 million people affected by Madoff's fraud it is certain to have a large public.

At the end of the film screening, the book "Pyramid Games" written by the British author Michael Leidig was presented which also looks the Madoff case but from the Austrian point of view. The author follows the same line that has been followed for years by investigators.

That is that ex-managers of the bank worked together with Sonja Kohn to build up Bernie Madoff's fraud and at the same time earned millions for themselves.

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