IT TAKES A CLEVER MAN TO MAKE MONEY, IT TAKES A GENIUS TO STAY ALIVE.
In 1936, a successful Jewish forger (Karl Marcovics) is arrested and sent to a labor camp in Germany, where his talents are spotted by an officer (Friedrich Striesow) who’s leading a secret counterfeiting operation. An engrossing portrayal of Operation Bernhard, the Nazi scheme that aimed to destroy the British economy by flooding it with fake money. The movie is strictly from the perspective of the concentration camp prisoners working the printing presses; privileged, they were nevertheless always close to death in Sachsenhausen. Made in cooperation with survivors, this film presents various questions of conscience in engaging ways.
2007-Austria-Germany. 98 min. Color. Produced by Josef Aichholzer, Nina Bohlmann, Babette Schröder. Written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. Book: Adolf Burger (“The Devil’s Workshop”). Cast: Karl Marcovics (Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch), August Diehl (Adolf Burger), Devid Striesow (Friedrich Herzog), Martin Brambach, August Zirner, Veit Stübner.
Trivia: Original title: Die Fälscher.
Oscar: Best Foreign Language Film.
Last word: “I felt from the start it would be all wrong to have a slick Hollywood style, like beautiful lighting and lots of dolly movements. I wanted to have a documentary feel that sucks you in and forces you to always have Sally’s perspective. There is not one scene in the movie without him. He’s not really likable at the beginning, but then you start to understand him. ‘The Counterfeiters’ is very much an American concept. When it premiered at the Berlin festival last year, it was praised by the American media, but condemned by German reviewers for its accessibility. I like the word ‘accessible’ more than ‘entertaining.’ The idea of having a sensitive, difficult, heavy issue made accessible for a general audience without torturing the spectator is something I like. In Germany the idea is that you mustn’t do that with the Holocaust.” (Ruzowitzky, indiewire)