Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe

Excellent...[lead actor Josef Hader's] is one of the great performances of recent years.


Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe

STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE, Austria’s Official Entry for the Best Foreign Language Film - 89th Academy Awards®, was written and directed by Maria Schrader (one of Germany's most acclaimed actresses, best known for her award-winning lead role in “Aimee & Jaguar” and for her lead role in the Emmy-winning TV series "Deutschland 83”).

The film episodically tells the story of the Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig and his life while in exile from 1936 to 1942. Best known in the U.S. for his novellas “The Royal Game” and “Letter from an Unknown Woman,” that was later adapted into a film directed by Max Ophüls, starring Joan Fontaine. His writings have also inspired Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Stefan Zweig (next to Thomas Mann) was the most-translated German-speaking writer of his time, but having been driven into emigration at the peak of his worldwide fame, Zweig falls into despair at the sight of Europe’s downfall, which he had anticipated early on. Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York, Petrópolis are four stations in Stefan Zweig’s exile, which despite offering him safe refuge and overwhelming tropical nature, won’t help him find peace and won’t be able to replace his home.
STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE is the story of a refugee, a tale of losing one’s home and of the search for a new one. It is a visually stunning historic picture about a great artist and, at the same time, a film about a time in which Europe was coming apart.

Director’s statement:

Stefan Zweig had escaped the war but was relentlessly haunted by it. He was safe in Brazil, surrounded by a tropical paradise - and yet he couldn't go on while, on the other side of the world, Europe was going up in flames. He couldn't distance himself from the pain of others. His suicide in 1942 shocked the world. I was intrigued by all the questions that arose from such disturbing decision. How can you cope with a world that turns to radicalism? How can you cope as an artist? Is there something more valuable than physical safety and personal happiness? During the years of researching and developing the film I had no idea how relevant these questions will be today - with refugees fleeing their homes in search of safe heaven in Europe, as well as what is currently going on politically on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Instead of aiming for a traditional biopic I chose to highlight various aspects of Stefan Zweig's life in exile and tell his story in six realtime-episodes, set in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York City and Petropolis. We shot in seven different languages and I consider myself very lucky having been able to gather such a multinational and tremendously gifted cast of more than 80 actors.
Not Rated
Drama, Women and Film
German, English, Portuguese, French, Spanish
Maria Schrader
Josef Hader, Barbara Sukowa, Aenne Schwarz, Matthias Brandt
Thelma Adams, New York Observer

Stefan Zweig, the Viennese Jewish writer (1881-1942) once recognized on a par with Thomas Mann, has seen his literary reputation resuscitated in the past decade with The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books manning the pumps. In contemporary circles, he’s an intellectual’s intellectual, ...

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