The Dead and the Living: My grandfather was a Nazi
by Juan Arteaga
- Austrian filmmaker Barbara Albert has screened her latest feature in the competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival
Austrian filmmaker Barbara Albert is a regular at big festivals both as a director and producer via her company coop99. Recently premiered in the competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival, her latest film The Dead and the Living [+see also:
interview: Barbara Albert
film profile] spans Europe to uncover the most terrible ghosts in its past.
The film relates 25-year-old Austrian woman Sita’s journey back into the past of the Second World War and into the abyss of contemporary European society to clear the doubts she has about a family secret. She travels from Berlin to Vienna and from Warsaw to Romania, in a film about loss, guilt, heritage, and the necessity of discovering one’s own identity.
The film's screenplay, written by the director, is partly autobiographical. (Her grandfather was a member of the SS). The Dead and the Living addresses the recurrent cinematic theme of one person coming to terms with a politically controversial family legacy. It is targeted at a young audience, and intends to call out to members of this section of society for them to speak to their elders.
“For grandchildren, it’s much more bearable than for the children because there is already a certain distance,” the director said at the press conference.
Despite showing several good formal and aesthetic choices in the use of music, editing, and cinematography, the films suffers from timidity and disorientation in bringing it all together, and fails to surprise the spectator for lack of a truly original point of view for a theme that they already know.
The film was produced by Barbara Albert, with Bruno Wagner and Alex Stern, for production company Coop99 Filmproduktion and for Komplizen Film in Munich. French agency Films Distribution is handing the film’s international sales.
(Translated from Spanish)
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