Next screening is one of the few German films against forgetting the Holocaust and Third Reich, produced by Arthur Brauner’s CCC-Films shortly after the war. It is also the first feature film portraying a concentration camp
1947/48, 81 min., dir. Eugen York, script Gustav Kampendonk, starring Lotte Koch, Klaus Kinski; German with English subtitles
DATE: 1 SEPTEMBER
VENUE: Howard College, MTB, West Wing, 1st Floor, German Programme, Media Room F251
About the film:
As the end of the Second World War approaches and the Soviet Red Army is advancing, a group of concentration camp inmates is helped to escape by a Polish doctor. They hide in a wood where they meet other fugitives, who have been there for months, constantly in fear of being discovered. Out of fear of the German army patrols, they do not dare to leave the forest, even as the food supplies run low. The Polish doctor blows up a bridge, attracting the German troops’ attention to the forest. The soldiers come perilously close to the hidden fugitives, but in the last moment have to retreat before the approaching Red Army units.
The title comes from the Latin expression “Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant.” Making this film was a very personal project for Artur Brauner. The script is based on an idea of his and this was only the second film made by his company CCC Film. Exteriors were shot near Berlin in Brandenburg, interiors in Berlin-Tempelhof. Principal cinematography was from September 1947 to January 1948.
The film was first shown on 28 August 1948 at the Venice Film Festival on the Lido di Venezia, Italy. It premiered in the Waterloo-Theater, Hamburg, Germany on 24 September 1948. It was released at the Neues Scala Kino in Berlin on 16 November 1948. The film was a commercial disaster, with audiences hissing and booing. A theater in Hamburg was vandalized, after which other theater owners, fearful of reprisal by Nazi sympathizers, refused to show the film. It was called “Freiwild in Austria”. Morituri was aired on German television station ZDF on 7 April 1991.
In 2009 Artur Brauner donated the film to Yad Vashem along with 20 other Holocaust-related films he had produced.
All welcome – No fees.
For further details please contact:
Dr Marion Pape
University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Arts
Tel: 0027-31-260 1086 / 2380
Fax: 0027-31-260 1242