TAKING SIDES

Film stills

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A tale based on the life of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the controversial conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic whose tenure coincided with the controversial Nazi era. After the war, he was investigated as part of the Allies’ de-Nazification programme. In the bombed-out Berlin of the immediate post-war period, the Allies slowly bring law and order – and justice – to bear on an occupied Germany. An American major is given the Furtwangler file, and is told to find everything he can and to prosecute the man ruthlessly. Tough and hard-nosed, Major Steve Arnold sets out to investigate a world of which he knows nothing. Orchestra members vouch for Furtwangler’s morality – he did what he could to protect Jewish players from his orchestra. To the Germans, deeply respectful of their musical heritage, Furtwangler was a demigod; to Major Arnold, he is just a lying, weak-willed Nazi.
 
Festivals: 

European Film Awards – nominated for Best Actor; Hungarian Film Critics Award – Special Award.

István Szabó

 
Born in 1938 Budapest, István Szabó graduated as a film director from Hungary’s Academy of Art of Theatre and Film. Szabó has won worldwide fame from both critics and audiences, not only for the extraordinary beauty of his impressive slate of films, but also for the historic and contemporary importance of the messages that they carry within their social and political themes. His signature film trilogy consists of Mephisto (1981, winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Cannes Award for the Best Screenplay), Colonel Redl (1984, winner of a Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival) andHanussen (1988). He made a switch to English-language films withMeeting Venus (1991), Sunshine (1999), Taking Sides (2001).