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On the set of JUD SÜSS - FILM OHNE GEWISSEN (photo © Concorde Film)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2009

JUD SÜSS - FILM OHNE GEWISSEN (“Film Without Conscience”) is Oskar Roehler’s examination of how German artists became involved in, tangled up and finally trapped and brought down by the Third Reich’s most notorious anti-Semitic film. It is less a ‘making of’ and more an unmaking of, especially of the man, Ferdinand Marian, who played the titular role.

It is 1939 and actor Ferdinand Marian scents his great career break. At first he hesitates and finally, personally persuaded by none less than Joseph Goebbels, he accepts the title role. Too late, he recognizes he is trapped in a perfectly planned propaganda film of the highest artistic quality as realized by director Veit Harlan. The film premieres at the German-Italian Film Week in Venice in 1940 and is seen by at least 20 million viewers across Europe.

“The story of the film’s making, and what I intend to capture here,” Oskar Roehler says, “is the dramatic story of the eroticism that power exercises, also of human ambition and personal vanity, and the fate of its central protagonists.”

Once again Roehler has assembled a top notch cast, including stalwart regulars Tobias Moretti (as Marian), Martina Gedeck (as his wife, Anna) and Moritz Bleibtreu, here playing one of history’s ultimate sleazebags, Nazi eminence gris, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. They are more than ably supported by Armin Rohde, Justus von Dohnányi (as Veit Harlan) and Paula Kalenberg (as leading lady of the time, Kristina Soederbaum). The script is by COMEDIAN HARMONISTS author Klaus Richter.

Clasart Film- und Fernsehproduktion, part of Dr. Herbert Kloiber’s Tele Muenchen Gruppe, is still on very much of a roll of late, as is its sister company, distributor Concorde Film.

Clasart and Concorde managing director, and here one of the film's producers, Markus Zimmer, explains how and why: “We pay the closest attention to the core elements since we produce character and story driven films. That means script, cast and director. Since a film stands or falls on any of these ‘legs’, they have to be as strong as possible to mutually support the whole edifice. But we never forget that a film is nothing without an audience, either. Oskar’s ability to attract such great talent and to hold an audience’s attention, as can this most able cast, is well proven. It all promises to make it a fascinating, insightful and, above all, very entertaining film.”

Genre Melodrama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Oskar Roehler
Screenplay Klaus Richter
Cinematography Carl-Friedrich Koschnick
Cast Robert Stadlober, Paula Kalenberg, Justus von Dohnányi, Moritz Bleibtreu, Martina Gedeck, Tobias Moretti, Armin Rohde
Producers Markus Zimmer, Frank Novotny
Production Companies Clasart Film/Munich, Tele München/Munich, in co-production with Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Cologne, Munich, Vienna, June - August 2009
Festivals Berlin 2010 (In Competition)
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, German Federal Film Fund / DFFF Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor Concorde Filmverleih

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