“Exceptional…not to be missed”
Austrian author and early twentieth century literary celebrity Stefan Zweig was for a time the most-translated German-language writer in Europe. His elegant, elegiac works have inspired various film adaptations, most memorably Max Ophuls’ Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) with Joan Fontaine, and most recently Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014.
Sensing the menacing tenor of darkening political times, Zweig left Europe in 1934, never to return. Despite a rapturous welcome in Brazil, where he eventually settled with his devoted second wife, Zweig struggled with his status as a Jewish intellectual in exile.
Maria Schrader’s thoughtful, timely drama recounts the years in which the author – played with great sensitivity by Austrian actor Josef Hader – and his young wife, Lotte, (Aenne Schwarz) moved between Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York and, finally, Petropolis. Screen legend Barbara Sukowa (Berlin Alexanderplatz, Lola, Hannah Arendt) brings grave tenderness to her role as the writer’s first wife, Friderike, who ultimately also fled Europe, arriving in New York in 1940 to create a new life for herself and her daughters.
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