EXCLUSIVE: Beta Cinema has unveiled a raft of key territory pre-sales for Joachim A. Lang’s Joseph Goebbels biopic Führer and Seducer ahead of its market premiere at the EFM this week.
The company has sealed deals to Spain (A Contracorriente), Portugal (Films4You), Scandinavia (Mis Label), Benelux (Dutch Film Works), Czech Republic (Donart Film), former Yugoslavia (Discovery) Japan (AT Entertainment) and Australia & New Zealand (Moving Story Entertainment).
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Wild Bunch will release the film in German-speaking territories.
Führer and Seducer follows Goebbels in his last seven years at Adolf Hitler’s side, as his Minister of Propaganda.
While Hitler is at the height of his power, Goebbels is the creator of the pictures of the flag-waving crowds and anti-Semitic films “Jud Süß” and “Der ewige Jude”, priming the German people for the mass murder of the Jews.
The drama follows Goebbels as he then attempts to whip up continued support for the war as the fortunes of Nazi Germany fall following its defeat at Stalingrad in early 1943, up to his final days in Hitler’s bunker where he plans the murder of his six children and own suicide with that of his wife.
Summer Storm and Das Boot actor Robert Stadlober, who can be seen in this year’s Berlinale Panorama title Andrea Gets A Divorce, stars as Goebbels.
Austrian actor Fritz Karl (Sisi) co-stars as Adolf Hitler and Franziska Weisz (The Swarm, Stations of the Cross) also features in the cast as wife Magda Goebbels.
Based on the latest historical research, the film deconstructs Goebbels’ deadly propaganda machine and how he created the images, speeches and film sequences that have become part of the frame of reference when discussing the Third Reich and the Shoah.
Director and screenwriter Lang, whose credits include the award-winning features Mack The Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film (2019) and George (2013), says his fictional retelling of how Goebbel operated and the role his propaganda played in shaping events has contemporary resonance.
“I hope the spectators will experience the insidiousness of propaganda emotionally and therefore perceive the real threat much more strongly than it is possible in documentary form,” he explains.
“The world is unraveling, many countries are in danger of following incendiary leaders and seducers, today’s demagogues who deceive by any means, jeopardizing democracies and human rights. What happened is not dead, it is not gone, it follows, pursues us if we choose to ignore it. This is why our film is so important. With my work and all my energy, I want to contribute to what is most important of all: that what happened never happens again.”
Thomas Weber, Professor of History and Int. Affairs at the University of Aberdeen & Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is historical advisor to the film.
He says of the feature: “The film deconstructs Goebbels more effectively than a documentary format could, since documentaries easily fall prey to the audio-visual legacy Nazi propagandists left behind. Joachim Lang puts an end to the underestimation and trivialization of Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda without ever diminishing the responsibility of millions of Germans for the crimes of the Third Reich.”
The film has been shown to several real-life witnesses of the consequences of Goebbels’ propaganda, such as Berlin-born Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer, who survived the Theresienstadt camp but lost her mother, father and brother to Auschwitz.
“The movie really touched me – it’s very important, because what happened can happen again so quickly. People can be manipulated and seduced so easily. The danger starts when people no longer respect other people. Everyone should be aware of the danger and watch out. Only those who are aware of the danger of seduction can consciously deal with all the influences from the media. We must stand up for our democracy and freedom and maintain respect for every single person.”
Charlotte Knobloch, former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, states: “Führer and Seducer is a masterpiece, we only wonder why it was not produced ten or twenty years ago. The light it sheds on the historical figures of the Nazi era opens up a new and challenging perspective for the viewer – because it also demands reflection on ourselves.”
Führer and Seducer is produced by Till Derenbach and Michael Souvignier for Zeitsprung Pictures, the company behind the popular Netflix series Kleo and Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood and multiple award-winning biopic Dear Thomas.
It is co-produced with Sandra Dujmovic (SWR), Maya spol.s.r.o. and Act/HQ and was funded by Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, MFG and Slovak Audiovisual Fund.
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