John Rabe finally hits screens
Florian Gallenberger’s blockbuster about the "Chinese Schindler" is being released on German screens today by Majestic. After Shadows of Time [+see also:
interview: Florian Gallenberger
film profile] (2003), the Oscar-winning director (who won the statuette for his short Quiero Ser, 2000) presents his interesting and ambitious third feature, John Rabe [+see also:
Based on the German hero’s diary – which was found and published ten years ago – the film stars Ulrich Tukur in the title role, alongside Daniel Brühl, Anne Consigny and Steve Buscemi.
Rabe – described by the Chinese as the "German Buddha" – was a Hamburg-born businessman (the Siemens representative in China) who, with the help of a group of important figures, was able to create a protected zone, thus saving the lives of around 250,000 locals during the Japanese attacks of the 1937 Nanking Massacre.
The film, which retraces these dramatic moments against a backdrop of diplomatic conflicts, was lensed by DoP Jürgen Jürges (who collaborated with Gallenberger on the two aforementioned films but is known primarily for his work with Michael Haneke).
Produced for around €15m by Hofmann & Voges Entertainment, EOS Entertainment and Majestic Filmproduktion, in co-production with Paris-based Pampa Production, a Chinese partner and ZDF, John Rabe received backing from several public funds (FFF Bavaria, FFA, DFFF, MBB...). Sales are being handled by Beta Cinema.
Two other European titles stand out in this week’s line-up, which is otherwise dominated by Hollywood productions. Filmgalerie 451 is launching Wernet Schroeter’s That Night [+see also:
film profile], which takes its inspiration from Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti’s eponymous novel.
The story centres on a courageous war veteran who returns to his hometown (in imminent danger of being bombarded) to save a woman who has since disappeared and finds himself trapped in a hellish place from which he desperately wants to escape.
Helmed by Paulo Branco, this French/German/Portuguese co-production stars Pascal Greggory, Sami Frey, Eric Caravaca, Elsa Zylberstein and Bruno Todeschini.
(Translated from French)
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