Maria Schrader to conceive of a film about the last years of the famous Austrian writer and public figure Stefan Zweig -- a Jew who had to leave Nazi Germany while there was still opportunity -- as a series of public appearances at various events around the world to which Zweig had been invited. This works better than one might imagine for several reasons. As director and co-writer (with Jan Schomburg), Ms
Josef Hader, shown below and at far left in the photo, right) and watch him in action and repose, this attitude makes more and more sense. The man hoped, past all hope, for some kind of peaceful conclusion to events in Germany, Austria, Europe and the world. He also, in his exile, never stopped longing for the Europe he so hugely missed.
STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE, we travel with Zweig and his second wife, Lotte (Aenne Schwarz, below, right) to various spots in South America, to New York for a visit with his first wife and family, then back again to South America, where he takes up -- against his deepest wishes -- a kind of permanent residence that turns out to be far too temporary.
TrustMovies did not know much of anything about this author, prior to viewing Schrader's film, so he was surprised indeed by the movie's final scene, which the filmmaker handles with fine tact and grace. I suspect Zweig himself would understand and appreciate the actions of the loving maid at film's end. All told, this is a masterful and very beautiful piece of work.
First Run Features, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe , after playing the festival ciurcuit, opens in its U.S. theatrical premiere this Friday, May 12, in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. It will plays additional cities thereafter (in Los Angeles it opens at Laemmle's Royal on June 16). Click here to view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.