Fantasia 2017: Fritz Lang ( Germany – 2016)

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for Cinetalk.net

With Fritz Lang, Gordian Maugg directed a risky fantasized story about the famous German director set at the beginning of the 1930’s. Lang had yet to direct his first talkie, Germany was on the verge of disasters to come with the rise of the Nazi party, a series of gruesome murders, by serial killers, was terrorized the German public.

Fritz Lang & wife/ screenwriter Thea von Harbou, for their first sound film, that would become the celebrated M (1931), draw inspirations from serial killer Peter Kürten, dubbed the “Vampire of Düsseldorf “, but also from the Fritz Haarmann and Carl Grobmann cases.

Fritz Lang is not your typical biopic. It approaches its subject as if Lang, played by Heino Ferch (Downfall, Run Lola Run, The Tunnel) was the protagonist of one of his own work, much in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka (1991). The film suggests Lang, using his notoriety and contacts, was given access to a lot of material by real life chief inspector Ernst Gennat, and that he closely followed the Kürten case. In a way, Lang denied all this in documented 1963 interviews with film historian Gero Gandert…

Maugg’s film is enjoyable if nothing in it is taken for granted. It offers an honest description of the beginning of a dark era (much like Lang’s film). It also incorporates very interesting newsreels from the period. For the rest of the ride we are in for a highly fictionalized full length fake news, a work of pure speculation.

 

Festival screening:
July 28 • 7:15 PM Salle J.A. De Sève (Concordia University)

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