“The Counterfeiters” The Real Thing
Just when you thought there could never be another film about the Holocaust, along comes the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film: The Counterfeiters. Written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, the film tells the story of Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch, played remarkably by Karl Markovics who has a special talent: counterfeiting bills and passports.
Called "Operation Bernhard", the objective is for the Nazis to select a detail of prisoners who have the counterfeiting skill to create a legible, accurate counterfeit pound note and dollar, which can be floated on the open market and create great financial ruin for both England and America. They are sent to a German concentration camp.
For this detail, "Sally" and the other members of the group are given "Special" consideration: bedding, music, some extra food, and all the supplies necessary to create the counterfeit bills which is partially why this 'band of brothers' survived the war. The unveiling of the ping pong table that is presented to them is designed to show how thoughtful and generous their Nazi captors were to them.
There is sabotage and in-fighting among the counterfeiters. Adolf Burger (August Diehl), on whose memoir the script is based, is an idealist and stubbornly refuses to do his part in the scheme. The Nazis become more frantic as problems with creating perfect bills surface during the final months of the war
In his notes, Director Ruzowitzky says: "I aimed for immediacy, avoiding the slickness that characterizes mainstream entertainment cinema…I wanted to underscore the timelessness of the subject, point (out) its relevance for a contemporary audience."
The powerful grip of The Counterfeiters will grab you from the first scene to the evanescent flashback of the details of this gigantic hoax. It deserves all the awards and consideration it has received – even your participation in its viewing. The Counterfeiters is now playing at the Laemmle Theater Chain. Check your newspaper!
For more information, visit www.sonyclassics.com/thecounterfeiters/