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Taking Sides

Directed by István Szabó

France-UK-Germany-Austria | 108 minutes | 2001

English, Russian, French, German with English subtitles

From the Academy Award-winning writer of The Pianist comes the provocative story, based on true events, of Wilhelm Furtwängler, arguably the most distinguished conductor of his generation. After Hitler took over power in 1933, many Jewish artists were forced to leave Germany. Wilhelm Furtwängler (Stellan Skarsgård) chose to stay, serving as one of the Nazi`s foremost cultural assets. Though never a member of the Party, Furtwängler was the recipient of government honors and appointments, associated with party members. However, the conductor often used his position and contacts to save hundreds of Jewish musicians from the concentration camps. When Major Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel) is given the task of carrying out pre-trial investigations against Furtwängler, his aim is to prove that the conductor’s artistic genius contributed to the Nazi propaganda machine and their destructive ideology. Conversely, Furtwängler insists he chose to stay to bring comfort to the German people with his music. Like a master conductor, director István Szabó orchestrates the debate from cat-and-mouse intensity. Taking Sides is that rare film that demands the audience to take a position on an issue: in this case, the complicity or innocence of Wilhelm Furtwängler.
Director István Szabó
Countries of Production France-UK-Germany-Austria
Year of Presentation 2001
Language(s) English, Russian, French, German with English subtitles
Premiere Status
Runtime 108 minutes
Principal Cast Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgård, Moritz Bleibtreu, R. Lee Ermey

Nominated at the European Film Awards

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