REICHSORCHESTER (The) - The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich

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The Reichsorchester - The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich
Wagner, Richard - Composer
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg


Year of Production: 2008
Playing Time: 01:39:29
Catalogue Number: CM9113
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In 2007 the Berlin Philharmonic celebrates its 125th year. The orchestra is using its jubilee as an opportunity to examine a rather unknown chapter in its history: The years under the rule of the National Socialists (between 1933 and 1945). The centre stage is taken by the musicians, the people and their individual fates.

Thanks to contemporary witnesses from the orchestra and its fringes who are still alive today, and thanks also to extensive and until now unappraised archive materials, it is possible to gain an insight into this microcosmos: where does the thin line run separating autonomy from entanglement, innocence from guilt? A chapter from the history of Germany and Berlin, as gripping as it is volatile, comes to life once more.

The film made by Enrique Sanchez-Lansch - whose documentary Rhythm is it! was awarded with the Bavarian Film Award 2004, the German Critics Award 2004 and two times with the German Film Award LOLA for Best Documentary and Best Editing - seeks out witnesses from all over the world and forgotten (or carefully concealed) footage of propaganda events such as the Nuremberg Rallies or the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympics. It visits the relatives of the four Jewish members who were removed from the orchestra, the descendants of the musicians who joined the NSDAP and those who suddenly appeared at rehearsals in the SA (Storm troopers) uniform.

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