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In Another Lifetime

Directed by Elisabeth Scharang

Austria-Hungary-Germany | 90 minutes | 2011

German with English subtitles

In the chaotic final days of World War II, a group of Hungarian Jews is on a forced march towards the Mauthausen concentration camp. Reaching a sleepy Austrian village, the 19 starving and exhausted men and women are locked in the barn of a surly farmer and his sullen wife. When one of the captives, a half-mad Budapest opera singer, proposes staging a Strauss operetta for the locals, everyone suddenly begins to cling to a very slender reed of hope. In this Holocaust period piece, based on a play by screenwriters Silke Hassler and Peter Turrini, Austrian journalist and documentary filmmaker Elisabeth Scharang does something remarkable: she strips away virtually all artifice, instead utilizing real locations illuminated by naturalistic, almost vérité cinematography. Scharang achieves a bittersweet, fable-like tone throughout, meanwhile ratcheting up the suspense as the farmer and his wife slowly rediscover their humanity in the joy of music shared with their Hungarian prisoners, and dark outside forces threaten to stop the show before it starts. In Another Lifetime’s culminating shot — a 60-year flash-forward that simply frames the face of a supporting character — is an astonishing image that will haunt the viewer long afterward.
Foreign Title Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben
Director Elisabeth Scharang
Countries of Production Austria-Hungary-Germany
Year of Presentation 2011
Language(s) German with English subtitles
Premiere Status
Runtime 90 minutes
Principal Cast Johannes Krisch, Ursula Strauss, Orsolya Tóth

Winner at the Romy Gala Awards

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