Die Falscher (The Counterfeiter) 2007

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Salomon "Solly" Sorowitsch is the best counterfeiter in all of Germany. Unfortunately, his reputation, and the fact that he's a Jew, brings him to the attention of the Nazis. He's arrested and sent to one of the concentration/work camps. His artistic talents soon set him apart from the other inmates. Camp officials have him paint their portraits and those of their families, wall murals, and other propaganda.

Bounced from camp to camp, he's eventually transferred to Sachsenhausen at the request of Sturmbannführer Herzog, the man who originally arrested him. Rather than being put to work and tortured as the majority of the prisoners, Sorowitsch is housed in a special part of the camp, segregated behind high walls and out of sight of the rest of the prisoners. Alongside bankers, artists, photographers, chemists, and other professionals are forced to create counterfeit passports and other official documents. Their main task though is to counterfeit the British pound and, eventually, the American dollar. A moral and physical struggle develops among the Jewish prisoners when they realize their work will not only help fund the Nazi war effort but could also be used to destroy the economy of the Allies and possibly help the Germans win the war. Do they continue their work, keeping themselves alive as long as they're useful or secretly sabotage the production of the counterfeit bills and delay the outcome as long as possible?

Based on the real life counterfeiting plan known as Operation Bernhard, Die Falscher is a really great foreign film. It's not an action film but there's plenty of drama and more than one scene that will make you wonder what you'd do under the same circumstances. And you're going to need a tissue or twelve. Karl Markovics as Sorowitsch was outstanding. Quiet, deliberate in every movement, he reminded me of the male stars of Hollywood's golden age - especially Humphrey Bogart, down to the hunched shoulders and the way he holds a cigarette. Fantastic.

The Captain highly recommends this one. Die Falscher is one of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film in this year's Oscar race. I think it might have a tough time against Katyn, which I've been hearing great things about but since it's the only one of the five I've seen so far...it's got my vote. I'm looking forward to seeing 12 and Mongol. This is a must see!!!


Milla said...

I liked the film very much, and I am glad it is up for an Oscar. I wacthed in German with Bulgarian subtitles so I probably missed some of the dialogue...

SME said...

This one looks excellent. Art fraud, Nazis, secret plots...perfect ingredients.

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