Movie about Nazi propaganda film booed in Berlin

Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:51pm EST
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By Dave Graham

BERLIN (Reuters) - A film about the making of one of Nazi Germany's most notorious anti-Semitic propaganda films was booed on Thursday during a screening at the Berlin Film Festival.

Sections of the audience jeered and hissed at the premiere of "Jud Suess -- Film ohne Gewissen" ("Jew Suess -- film without conscience"), which chronicles the making of its 1940 namesake "Jud Suess," a film still largely banned in Germany.

Blending fact with fiction, the two-hour movie casts Austrian actor Tobias Moretti as the Austrian Ferdinand Marian who is trapped by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (Moritz Bleibtreu) into accepting a film acting role that would haunt him for the remainder of his career.

Ahead of its first screening, critics had accused the film of distorting history with its depiction of how Marian ended up playing the role of the wily Jewish businessman Joseph Suess Oppenheimer in the original movie.

Marian is shown to be highly reluctant to take the role and the film gives him a Jewish wife who ends up in a concentration camp, and includes a scene in which Goebbels effectively forces him into accepting the part.

Neither detail is based on fact, though historians have said Marian was not keen to play Oppenheimer.

Although the original "Suess" was seen by an estimated 20 million people and helped to set the wheels of the Holocaust in motion, German director Oskar Roehler was unapologetic about changing the facts to fit his version of the story.

"If I'd been wanting to make a documentary, I wouldn't have made a feature film," Roehler told a news conference.   Continued...