Flicker Alley, in partnership with Filmarchiv Austria and the Sunrise Foundation For Education and the Arts, will release the brand new restoration of H.K. Breslauer’s powerful 1924 film, The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden), in a World Premiere Dual-Format Edition release on 14 July 2020.
Based on the controversial and best-selling novel by Hugo Bettauer, The City without Jews was produced two years after the publication of the book, and only a decade before events depicted in the fictional story became an all-too-horrific reality.
Once considered lost, this bold work of cinematic social commentary will now available in a comprehensive new restoration!
Set in the imaginary city of Utopia (a thinly-disguised stand-in for Vienna), the story follows the consequences of an antisemitic law passed by the National Assembly forcing all Jews to leave the country.
At first the decision is met with celebration, yet when the citizens of Utopia are confronted with the loss of the Jewish population—and the resulting economic and cultural decline—the National Assembly must decide whether or not to invite the Jews back.
Though darkly comedic in tone, and stylistically influenced by German Expressionism, the film also contains starkly realistic and eerily prophetic sequences, such as the shots of trains transporting deported Jews out of the city.
The implicit critique of Nazism in the film is one reason it no longer screened in Continental Europe after 1933, and no prints were thought to have survived. The 1933 fragment, found and published by the Filmarchiv Austria in 1991, was missing critical scenes. Now, thanks to the discovery of a nitrate print with the missing footage in a Parisian flea market in 2015, as well as the comprehensive restoration work of the Filmarchiv Austria, this previously “lost” film can once again be appreciated in its ever-relevant entirety.
The most definitive and authoritative edition of this remarkable film published anywhere in the world, The City without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden) features a newly-commissioned score by the acclaimed silent film ensemble, pianist Donald Sosin and Klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals.
BONUS MATERIALS INCLUDE:
- Victims of Hatred (Opfer des Hasses) (1923) — A semi-documentary feature additionally restored by Filmarchiv Austria about the Jewish refugees who fled pogroms in Russia, produced by the Jüdisches Hilfswerk – the Jewish Relief Organization in Vienna. Music composed and performed by Donald Sosin. ONLY IN THIS EDITION!
- Conversation with Dr. Nikolaus Wostry, Filmarchiv Austria (2019) — Dr. Margrit Frölich moderates an in-depth interview with Dr. Nikolaus Wostry, managing director and head of film collections at Filmarchiv Austria, discussing the challenging history of the film and its legacy in the Republic of Austria today. ONLY IN THIS EDITION!
- Saving “Die Stadt ohne Juden” (2016) — Filmarchiv Austria’s crowdfunding campaign video for the digital scanning of The City without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden), an integral step in the process of rescuing and preserving this landmark of Austrian silent cinema. ONLY IN THIS EDITION!
- “The City without…Jews, Muslims, Refugees, Foreigners”… — The chilling images featuredin this slide show of the 2018 exhibition at METRO Kinokulturhaus document both the historical context of the film and its truly expansive contemporary relevance. ONLY IN THIS EDITION!
- Collector’s Edition Souvenir Booklet — Limited edition booklet with new essays by Ernst Kieninger, Armin Loacker, and Cynthia Walk on the film’s history and significance, as well as articles on the comprehensive reconstruction and restoration process by Anna Dobringer and Fumiko Tsuneishi; and an introduction to the edition’s unique bonus features by Margrit Frölich.