Austrian Filmmaker Nominated for an Oscar

On The Town | Dardis McNamee | February 2008

A film by Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters), was nominated in January for an Oscar as the Best Film in a Foreign Language, marking the first time in 22 years that an Austrian film has been nominated for this award.

It tells the story of the largest counterfeiting operating in history, based on the memoirs of Adolf Burger, a Jewish concentration camp detainee, who was forced to take part in a secret Nazi project aimed to destabilize Britain and the United States by flooding the two economies with faked currency.

Burger (Karl Markovics) hopes to sabotage the operation, the voice of conscience, raising the questions of choice and the price of survival. The film examines these moral questions and brings to life the circumstances of the day to day existence in the concentration camp.

Die Fälscher has been successful at the box office both in Europe and the United States following its debut at the Berlinale last year and was nominated for the Deutscher Filmpreis in seven categories, with Devid Striesow as Martin Brombach winning for Best Supporting Actor.

The last Austrian film to be nominated was 38 by Wolfgang Glück in 1986. Since then, a number of Austrian filmmakers have gained a reputation for feature films as well as documentaries, including Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher, Cache), Barbara Albert (Northern [Out]Skirts, Fallen), Michael Glawogger (Workingman’s Death, Slumming) and Ulrich Seidl (Hundstage, Import-Export) known for the unsentimental scrutiny of social issues.

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