3 July 2017 | clanciai
An almost documentary account of the exile dilemma of Stefan Zweig and many other German artists during the difficult nazi years.
This is a very sad film, but if the ambition was to give as correct and truthful a picture as possible of Stefan Zweig's exile dilemma, it has succeeded overwhelmingly well. The character of the film is as close to documentary as a feature film can be, it is almost overly realistic in catching every day life scenes of the author and his friends and family, and the introductory scenes in South America, especially the Pen conference in Buenos Aires in 1936 give insight enough into Stefan Zweig's public standing and views and his definite refusal to take any political standing at all. That was maybe his life's tragedy, he wanted to keep it pure of any commitment for or against any worldly state and ideology, but in the end he was forced to abandon his idealism to finally take a stand against nazism in his autobiography "The World of Yesterday" and his last work "Schachnovelle". That could be seen as a personal moral bankruptcy in giving up his idealistic view of humanity, and he committed his suicide almost directly after finishing the story. It was found after his death.
Of course, a film like this can't tell the whole truth but only give glimpses of it, but the glimpses are accurate and expressive enough and give a fairly good view of the whole picture. He actually contemplated suicide already much earlier in his career, he even asked his first wife Friederike to join him in suicide, but she had her two daughters (from a previous marriage) to live for, while his second wife was free to join him.
It's a beautiful picture for its infinite melancholy expressed only in suggestions but giving a very accurate interpretation of the very complex and tragic case of Stefan Zweig, who was the greatest writer of his time.