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DCA Archive

Senior Citizen Kane Club: Never Look Away

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Oscar winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) returns to our screens with epic period drama Never Look Away, inspired by the early life and career of German contemporary artist Gerhard Richter, that once again looks into the dark corners of his country's recent history.

"Both a historical epic and an intimate tragedy..."

Opening with the notorious 1937 Degenerate Art exhibition organized by the Nazis, the film tells the parallel stories of a doctor involved in ‘cleansing’ allegedly racially-inferior people, and of a young boy who is fascinated by art. That child later comes of age amid the chaos of post-war German partition: as a man living in East Germany, Kurt (Tom Schilling) has a job creating propaganda billboards while pining to be an artist. Meanwhile, the doctor, Seeband (Sebastian Koch), is captured by the Soviets and interrogated about his role in the Nazi eugenics program.

The intertwined fates of these two men forms the dramatic focus of Henckel von Donnersmarck's remarkable reflection on the two sides of the German Democratic Republic's political and ideological past. Despite its length, Never Look Away never lags or sags. Instead it is an engrossing and engaging watch; a historical epic combining an intimate tragedy about misdirected ambition, and the story of an artist trying to discover his voice.