Oscar winner, Best Foreign Film. A vividly original concentration camp drama. "Sharp and compelling... delivers on the promise of its astonishing true-life origins." — Empire
Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film is a vividly original concentration camp drama. Actor Karl Markovics is indelible as the master forger at the centre of its based-on-fact account of a group of prisoners put to work by the Nazis to fake Allied currency. Hard-ass artist, con man and bon vivant, he’s a severe pragmatist and a born survivor. He finds himself pitted against an idealist amongst the prisoners – a vigorous, handsome figure – who is intent on undermining the Nazi operation, though doing so will seriously imperil the lives of his fellow forgers. There’s a pragmatist on the Nazi side too – the commandant who despises fascist ideology and respects the survival instincts of his star prisoner, but is equally determined to stay on the winning side. The three-way clash of wills becomes a matter of life and death. Writer/director Stefan Rozowitzky enacts the moral struggle at the heart of his film with visceral force. — BG.
“The film is based on the memoirs of Adolf Burger, who is portrayed as an idealistic firebrand, but Stefan Rozowitzky’s script keeps our sympathies flitting between everyone in the workshop… The Counterfeiters is less sentimental and more provocative than any Hollywood movie which has dared to imagine concentration camp life, and yet it’s not afraid to be a fast, gripping, accessible thriller. Following the likes of Downfall and The Lives of Others, it’s the latest in a wave of German and Austrian films which address their countries’ darkest hours with supreme skill and confidence.“ — Nicholas Barber, Independent on Sunday