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28 October 2021 Bielefeld (Germany)
Film+MusikFest: Die Stadt ohne Juden
Richard Siedhoff, piano & Mykyta Sierov, oboe - Lichtwerk
Program Info: Richard Siedhoff, piano Mykyta Sierov, oboe
A title that makes the blood run cold in our veins today. A film made in 1924, rediscovered after almost 100 years, restored and now released to the public. A film that for the first time ever takes up the subject of anti-Semitism and transforms it into a satirical dystopia of inconceivable clairvoyance about the incitement against Jews. Thus appear demonstrating masses who, in their rage over the economic crisis, look for a scapegoat and find it. The Jews are hounded out of the fictional state of Utopia - in images that seem to anticipate the cruel reality. Unlike reality a few years later, however, the film story turns out better. Mass hysteria is followed by disillusionment. Without Jews, everything gets worse in Utopia.
Karl Breslauer's film was based on the bestseller of the same name by Hugo Bettauer, a successful Austrian author who was shot by a young Nazi just one year later - and who was not even convicted for it. While the film certainly received widespread attention when it was first shown, it was considered lost until the 1990s. Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, however, the torso found in Amsterdam, which was joined in 2015 by the flea market discovery of another film reel in Paris, was restored by the Filmarchiv Austria in 2018.