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Taking Sides

Filmmaker Istvan Szabo follows up his acclaimed "Sunshine" with this mediation on Wilhelm Furtwangler. As the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra during the 1930s, Furtwangler (Stellan Skarsgard) rivaled only Toscanini and was hailed as a titan of German musical culture. When the Nazis came to power, Furtwangler refused to leave Germany and refused to associate himself with Hitler. As the war started gathering steam, Furtwangler's attempts at distance became harder and harder. After the war, the Allies investigated him while looking to keep law and order and to mete out justice. Furtwangler's file is given to Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel), a no-nonsense major told to prosecute the conductor mercilessly. Arnold's investigations reveal that Furtwangler refused to shake Hitler's hand and that he aided the Jewish members of his orchestra. It also reveals moments of great weakness. Is Furtwangler a compromised genius or a vacillating Nazi?

Year: 2001
Genre: Art House Cinema, Film Festivals 2002
Country: Germany
Director: Istvan Szabo
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgard, Moritz Bleibtreu
Duration: 111 Minutes
Rating: M - Contains offensive language.
7.2/10
Location in store: Art House Cinema

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