German Films at the 11th Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Enlarge image Consul General Lutz Görgens (© German Consulate General) Consul General Lutz Görgens introduced the German film "Jew Suss" at the 11th Atlanta Jewish Film Festival last evening, explaining the historical background of the main character's story dating back to 1698 and reminding the audience that the topic was covered previously by two books (Wilhelm Hauff, 1827 and Lion Feuchtwanger, 1925) and one movie (Lothar Mendes, 1934) before Veit Harlan made the Nazi propaganda film in 1940.
A controversial dramatization that has sharply divided critics and audiences, JEW SUSS: RISE AND FALL recounts the making of the most nefarious Nazi propaganda film, and the ruinous fate of its unwitting lead actor. German cinema’s leading man Ferdinand Marian (a trenchant Tobias Moretti) is offered the starring role in a bastardized adaptation of the pro-Semitic novel Jud Süß. Worried about being typecast as a Jew, he is initially reluctant to take the part but eventually relents to pressure and then outright blackmail by Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (played with scene-stealing ferocity by Moritz Bleibtreu). Marian’s charismatic performance produces a box office smash, unleashing anti-Semitic fervor across Europe and the awful weight of history upon his shoulders.
Enlarge image (© AJFF) A lavishly produced morality tale about evil’s seductive power, JEW SUSS: RISE AND FALL was nominated for the Best Film Golden Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, but was badly received at its premiere two days ago for "straying too far from the facts and making light of historical tragedy."
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Founded in 2000, AJFF ranks as the largest film festival in Atlanta, and second largest Jewish film festival in the United States. AJFF attracts an audience of more than 20,000 moviegoers, and features an international collection of some 60 narrative and documentary films that explore the Jewish experience. Screenings are supplemented by guest appearances with filmmakers, actors, authors, academics and other expert speakers.