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Der Passfälscher

Maggie Peren | 2022 | 116 MINS
Germany | Subtitles
UK Premiere - Germany

Cioma Schönhaus, a 21-year-old Jew, escapes the Gestapo and saves lives thanks to his ability to forge passports. He turns his talent to forging his own identity.

In Detail

Berlin, 1940. Cioma (Louis Hofmann, star of the hit Neflix series ‘Dark’) will not let anyone take away his zest for life, especially not the Nazis. Since the best hiding places are in plain sight, he audaciously adopts the identity of a marine officer to escape being deported, as his family were.

Drawing on his art school background, he joins a network of underground rescuers and becomes infamous for his masterfully forged IDs - created with just a brush, some ink and a steady hand - that save the lives of hundreds of Jews by allowing them to escape the country. Meanwhile, he throws himself into the city's nightlife and even finds a fragile hope for love during the darkest moments of the war.

His talent and propensity for boldness put him in more and more danger, however, until his only chance of survival is one last forged document - with his own name on it. To achieve the period detail in the film, Maggie Peren and her crew immerse the viewer in 1940s Berlin, with its wartime nightlife and the dour restaurant that only takes ration cards for payment. The shifts from warm to cool tones in Christian Stangassinger’s cinematography keep the film visually arresting, just as Robert Sterna’s brisk editing heightens the suspense.

Our thanks to Beta for this screening.

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