RESTORATION PROJECT AND CROWDFUNDING INITIATIVE
PRESENTATION AS PART OF THE VIENNALE
Saturday, October 22, 6pm, Free admission!
METRO Kinokulturhaus, Johannesgasse 4, 1010 Vienna
A Sensational Find
Today, the silent film DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN (“The City Without Jews”) is regarded as one of the most important Austrian productions of the interwar period. Based on the eponymous novel by the Jewish writer and journalist Hugo Bettauer, the film was shot in Vienna in 1924. Disturbingly prophetic, it shows the cultural and economic impoverishment of a city following the expulsion of its Jewish population. The film was only preserved in a fragmentary and, in terms of its content, downplayed version, until the Filmarchiv Austria succeeded in finding the missing parts in France.
The discovered material sheds new light on DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN. It includes the hitherto lost ending of the film, while the other sequences found reveal an obviously dramaturgically staged parallel narrative. Previously unknown images show Jewish life in Vienna with a clear anti-Semitic connotation. The famous expressionist scene featuring Hans Moser in the role of a ruthless anti-Semite is available in its entirety for the first time. All in all, the political message of the film and the depiction of murderous anti-Semitism in Vienna in the wake of World War I are now significantly more sharply articulated. Upon completion of the restoration work, it may be possible to present DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN, more than 90 years after its premiere, in an almost complete and authentic version once again.
The Crowdfunding Project
As the Filmarchiv Austria cannot finance this extensive and costly restoration project from its ordinary budget, it has decided to launch a crowdfunding initiative to ask the general public for support. The quick restoration of the newly discovered nitrate material, which is already showing the first signs of decomposition, has priority.
As part of the Viennale, Ernst Kieninger and Nikolaus Wostry will present this outstanding project to rescue this unique cultural document on the history of Jewish life and anti-Semitism in Vienna. They will also address the increasingly pressing issue of the sustainable protection of Austrian film heritage and dealing with one’s own (motion picture) history.
DIE STADT OHNE JUDEN
Director: Hans Karl Breslauer, A 1924
Script: H.K. Breslauer, Ida Jenbach, based on the novel by Hugo Bettauer;
Cinematography: Hugo Eywo; Cast: Johannes Riemann, Eugen Neufeld, Hans Moser, Gisela Werbezirk, and others.