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Never Look Away…beauty in truth

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The film The Lives of Others, deals with the lives of  East Berliners, separated by a wall  and  freedom. The Stasi – driven paranoia never permitted peace of mind, yet people lived with dignity as best they could.  Even the Stasi operative reveals a human side. Director and writer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck thrills again and even more so, with his new film, Never Look Away.

neverlookaway

It is no surprise that Donnersmarck studied philosophy at Oxford. Every character thinks in this film… weighing their choices, confronting their destinies and we as audience, have the pleasure of experiencing this along with them.

Starring Tom Schilling and Sebastian Koch, Never Look Away spans three eras of German history from WWII to the Berlin Wall. Young art student Kurt (Schilling)  falls in love with the daughter (Paula Beer) of an ex Nazi doctor (Koch) who disapproves of his child’s choice of partner and works at destroying Kurt’s self-esteem and their relationship. What they don’t know is that their lives are intricately interwoven through a crime that the Professor committed during the height of the Nazi regime.

This is a film that takes its time. When the allied bombs begin to fall, we see a montage… one family, separated through war, soldiers on the field, a young woman in an extermination camp (Saskia Rosendahl)…all of a family, disappearing in the ways wars make lives disappear. The music by Max Richter  delivers the power and the futility of this most horrific of human endeavors.

Kurt, in art school, cannot immediately produce. We see the artist’s process as he struggles between expression and denial. It is not until his subconscious awakens through the help of a committed teacher and his own acceptance of the truth, that he is able to say something from his heart.

The Nazi Professor remains arrogant throughout. He is a perfect example of the blindness of racism — he sees neither his daughter’s happiness nor her pain nor is able to acknowledge his deeds.  He is a man of such hubris that when leaving East Berlin, he doesn’t join his cronies  in South America, but carries on his life in the West. This is frightening indeed. He is more machine than human and is played brilliantly by Koch.

Never Look Away is a powerhouse of a film.  Honor, praise and gratitude bestowed on those who made this part of our human history so compelling.

produced by Jan Mojito Quirin Berg Max Wiedemann

Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck

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Written by nancykoan

January 24, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Posted in racism, Uncategorized

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