Stanford Mail

Defying the Nazi Regime: a Daring Tale of Survival and Courage

MOVIE REVIEW
The Forger (Der Passfälscher)

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Genre: Biography, Drama
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 56m
Director(s): Maggie Peren
Writer(s): Maggie Peren
Cast: Louis Hofmann, Jonathan Berlin, Luna Wedler
Language: German w/English subtitles
Where To Watch: opens in New York on March 3 at the Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on March 17, 2023, at the Laemmle Royal and Laemmle Town Center, with national expansion to follow.


RAVING REVIEW: Looking for an informative history lesson with a beautiful story? Look no further than THE FORGER. The film, set in Berlin during World War II, tells the inspiring story of Cioma Schönhaus, a young Jewish man who defies the Nazi regime by adopting the identity of a marine officer and joining a network of underground rescuers. With his artistic skills, he creates forged IDs that save countless lives.


The film celebrates the human spirit and Cioma's fearless attitude to live openly and choose his path, even amid the chaos of war. Through the lens of THE FORGER, viewers will gain a sense of the haunting atmosphere of the time, with reminders that even in the darkest moments, pockets of security and hope could be found. 

Cioma's story unfolds against the backdrop of a home that belonged to his deported Jewish parents. He works in a pipe-cutting factory that is essential to the war effort, which provides him with some level of protection from being sent to the front lines or concentration camps. By posing as a German, he manages to avoid detection.

Louis Hofmann delivers an incredible performance as Cioma and keeps the film afloat. He brings the character a certain undeniable charm. The occasional humor throughout the film adds to its enjoyment as it battles its confines' profound and heartwrenching reality. Hofmann’s performance and ability to work the system make for a compelling portrayal that draws viewers into his world.

Director Stefan Peren chooses to focus on the inspiring story of Cioma rather than dwelling on the world around him, even though there are constant reminders of the war he’s in the middle of. The film isn’t an in-depth dive into the war, but it still serves as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit, even in the face of the darkest moments in history. I found that to be a refreshing take on this genre; we’ve seen films about the war, and this is a story about survival during the war.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a film that will inspire you and remind you of the resilience of the human spirit, THE FORGER is a must-see. Cioma's story reminds viewers that hope and determination can prevail even in the darkest times. The film's captivating story, haunting atmosphere, and charming lead performance make it an enjoyable watch.

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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]