The Counterfeiters: Of swindlers and men
by Valentina Di Michele
Would Stefan Ruzowitzky have shot The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher) [+see also:
film profile] ten years ago? The Viennese director of Anatomy and All the Queen’s Men smiles, stressing his desire to turn the taboos of concentration camps on their head and, using a light touch, tell a story whose victims are neither heroes nor innocent.
The Counterfeiters, presented today in competition at the Berlinale, offered the press (which came in such droves that an extra screening was required) an alternative take on the Nazi era.
The story, based on the memoirs of Adolf Burger, centres on “counterfeit king” Salomon Sorowitsch, a Jew from Odessa who, in 1936 Berlin, enjoys a golden existence made up of cons, gigolos and easy women. Upon being arrested, he finds himself forced, almost accidentally, to place his skills as a forger at the service of the war, and to risk everything in a gruelling game of survival.
“This is a political film. I was waiting for the opportunity to say what I had to say on this subject and I finally got it”, said Ruzowitzky. “In Austria, we still have political leaders who hold positions disgustingly close to those of the past. This film is not a history lesson, instead it deals with universal themes and speaks of the desire to change the world by adapting one’s self to it, from the point of view of an artist”.
The Counterfeiters – financed by Hamburg’s Magnolia Filmproduktion for ZDF-Kino and Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures in co-production with Aichholzer Filmproduktion (Austria) and with backing from the FilmFörderung Hamburg – was shot in Monte Carlo and the Babelsberg Studios.
International sales are being handled by Germany’s Beta Film.
(Translated from Italian)
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