THE INVISIBLES (DIE UNSICHTBAREN – WIR WOLLEN LEBEN)
Allemagne , 2017 / 110 min / German OV / Docudrama
Berlin, 1943. The NS regime declares the Reich’s capital “free of Jews”. But some Jews succeed in doing the unthinkable: They go underground and become invisible for the authorities. More often than not, sheer luck and youthful light-heartedness save them from getting caught by the Gestapo. Only a select few know their real identity. Cioma Schönhaus becomes a forger of passports, thus saving the lives of dozens of other persecuted Jews. Hanni Lévy dyes her hairs blonde to pass as Aryan and stroll along the Ku’damm unnoticed. And while Eugen Friede joins a resistance group that distributes anti-government leaflets, Ruth Arndt pretends to be a war widow and serves black market delicacies to Wehrmacht officers. All of them are fighting for a life in freedom, without truly being free.
The Invisibles is a powerful drama, based on interviews director Claus Räfle and co-writer Alejandra López conducted with eyewitnesses that were later on integrated into the film. These impressive interviews are intertwined with dramatic re-enactments of the lives of the people that inspired the film. The two levels blend together into an intensive feature film that retells the emotionally moving story of a largely unknown chapter of Jewish resistance.
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“Using an assemblage of personal interviews, fictionalized re-enactments, and archival footage, The Invisibles is a gripping documentary/narrative hybrid about the inspiring resourcefulness, resiliency, and courage shown by teenagers and young adults living in dire conditions with an uncertain future. The inventive structure of the film allows us to hear the stories of four survivors, as compellingly told in their own words, and then to see the action dramatically depicted by a talented cast.” Jewish Film Institute
“The Invisibles tells the stories of four survivors, interweaving their testimony with highly accomplished dramatizations, an unusual hybrid approach that brings edge-of-the-seat suspense to their years spent underground. The two men and two women whose stories unfold are well chosen, and their younger selves are sensitively portrayed” Portland German Film Festival, September 2018
- Audience Favourite – World Cinema, Silver Award, Mill Valley Film Festival, 2017 (USA)
Claus Räfle is a German director, screenwriter and producer, born in 1962 in Wuppertal. Since the early nineties, he has produced over 40 documentaries, mainly for German television, with a particular interest for provocative issues that he tackled with humour and a laconic narrative style. His satirical documentary Die Heftmacher (1991) won a silver Adolf Grimme Prize and in 2000 he caused a stir at the Berlinale and the Max Ophüls Festival with his political satire Der Kandidat, a mockumentary about a fake candidate in the German federal elections. During the making of Salon Kitty (2004), documenting the Berlin brothel for high-ranking Nazi officials of the same name, Claus Räfle learnt about the Jews hiding in the heart of the Nazi regime during for the first time, and the seed for The Invisibles (2017) took root.
- 2017 – Die Unsichtbaren – Wir wollen leben (documentary)
- 2009 – Die Kritiker – Zwischen Macht und Ohnmacht (documentary)
- 2004-2018 – Geheimnisvolle Orte (documentary TV series)
- 2004 – Salon Kitty – Ein Nazibordell und seine Geschichte (documentary)
- 2000 – Der Kandidat
- 1991 – Die Heftmacher (documentary short)