About this movie
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar-winner for The Lives of Others, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck once again ploughs the fertile soil of German history, this time for an ambitious, gorgeously photographed drama about an artist (based on Gerhard Richter) that begins during the Nazi period and spans decades. Right from the start—when soon-to-be gifted artist Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) is seen as an eight-year-old visiting the touring Nazi exhibition of ‘degenerate art’ with his aunt—Henckel von Donnersmarck signals that he will be dealing with the grand themes of history, art, and politics, and how they are intricately intertwined. As Kurt becomes the protégé of a Joseph Beuys-like figure at art college, and the grind that is life under the GDR’s communist regime takes its toll, Never Look Away (the film’s English title) raises questions of artistic and moral integrity in the face of tyranny, making for a soul-stirring work.
‘An epic, intergenerational tale of art, love, tragedy and politics spanning three turbulent decades of 20th-century German history… Caleb Deschanel’s honeyed, warm-toned photography [takes] a romantic view of production designer Silke Buhr’s immaculately authentic, decades-spanning world-building… Schilling [commands] the film with such quick, quiet intelligence and grace…’—Jessica Kiang, Variety