Archive of films The Last Train / Der letzte Zug
Germany / Czech Republic
2006, 125 min
In 1942 the Nazi chieftains decided once and for all to “resolve” the question of the Berlin Jews. Under the pretext of protecting them from air raids, entire Jewish families were shunted into trains and taken off to a place of no return – the Auschwitz concentration camp. The tragic heroes of this intimate story, over the space of five terrible days crammed into a single freight truck, deprived of food and drink, try not to lose all reason, hope and human dignity.
Grunewald railway station, Berlin. It is in this place that memories come flooding back of the tragic stories of the Berlin Jews who were brought together in 1942 by Goebbels’s decision to “definitively” rid the city of their presence. Under the pretext of protecting them from air raids, entire Jewish families were shunted onto trains and taken off to a place of no return – the Auschwitz concentration camp. They had to endure a journey lasting several days in cramped freight trucks, without food or drink, and supervised by unsympathetic armed guards – lives were inevitably lost. In their tortured minds they began to sense that this was only the beginning of the end… The tragic heroes who, in one such truck, try during the course of five terrible days not to lose all reason, hope and human dignity, are famous boxer Henry Neumann, singer Jakob Noschik and 16-year-old Ruth Zilbermann… Which of them will survive? Joseph Vilsmeier, famous for his wartime drama Stalingrad (1992), together with his wife, the director and actress Dana Vávrová, present an intimate drama evoking the tragedy of the Holocaust. The film won the Special Bavarian Film Award last year.
About the director
Joseph Vilsmaier (b. 1939, Munich) studied music but ultimately established himself in film. He began as a technician, assistant cameraman and then cinematographer. In 1988 he debuted with the film Autumn Milk (Herbstmilch) starring Dana Vávrová (b. 1967, Prague), who became his wife in 1986. Vávrová also appeared in the films Long Live Ghosts! (1977), Ball Lightning (1978) and The Conception of My Younger Brother (2000) and she directed the family film Bear on the Run (2000). Vilsmaier became celebrated for his war drama Stalingrad (1992), though he also visited the theme of the 2nd World War in the films Rama Dama (1990) and, more recently, in Leo und Claire (2002). His film Comedian Harmonist (1997) won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary IFF in 1998. He also filmed a biography of the famous actress Marlene Dietrich, Marlene (2000).
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Director:||Joseph Vilsmaier, Dana Vávrová|
|Dir. of Photography:||Joseph Vilsmaier|
|Producer:||Ivo Pavelek, Artur Brauner|
|Cast:||Gedeon Burkhard, Lale Yavas, Lena Beyerling, Sibel Kekilli, Juraj Kukura, Roman Roth, Nina Divíšková, Stanislav Zindulka|
|Contact:||Bontonfilm, a.s., Telepool|
Festival Organizer, Film Institution Rep.