Trailer · Background Material · Pictures · Official Site · Flyer
directed by: István Szabó
starring: Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgård, Moritz Bleibtreu, Birgit Minichmayr, Ulrich Tukur,
running time: 105 minutes, Dolby Digital,
TAKING SIDES is a gripping political drama investigating the responsibility of the individual within a dictatorship.
Directed by Academy Award winner István Szabó, the film is based on a screenplay by Academy Award winner Ronald Harwood, adapted from his theatre play of the same name.
"A cleverly divisive chamber piece by Istvan Szabo"
THE TIMES WEEKEND REVIEW - No 2 in the 10 BEST FILMS list
"A dramatically compelling clash."
Stephen Holden, NEW YORK TIMES
"Illuminates brilliantly the dilemma of a great, world-renowned artist flourishing in a totalitarian regime."
Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"[Szabo's] best film in decades."
Wesley Morris, BOSTON GLOBE
"Stellan Skarsgard's deceptively low-key performance as the beleaguered musician pushes the emotional temperature to a quiet fever pitch, and raises fascinating questions about the moral predicament of cultural figures working under totalitarian regimes."
Ella Taylor, L.A. WEEKLY
"EXTRAORDINARILY POWERFUL AND EXPLOSIVELY ACTED... A showcase for two Oscar-worthy performances."
William Arnold, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
From the Academy Award® winning writer of The Pianist comes the provocative story, based on true events, of Wilhelm Furtwängler, arguably the most distinguished conductor of his generation.
After Hitler took over power in 1933, many Jewish artists were forced to leave Germany. Wilhelm Furtwängler (Stellan Skarsgard) chose to stay, serving as one of the Nazi's foremost cultural assets.
Though never a member of the Party, Furtwängler was the recipient of government honors and appointments associated with party members. However, the conductor often used his position and contacts to save hundreds of Jewish musicians from the concentration camps.
When Major Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel) is given the task of carrying out pre-trial investigations against Furtwängler, his aim is to prove that the conductor's artistic genius contributed to the Nazi propaganda machine and their destructive ideology. Conversely, Furtwängler insists he chose to stay to bring comfort to the German people with his music.
Taking Sides is that rare film that demands the audience to take a position on an issue: in this case, the complicity or innocence of Wilhelm Furtwängler.