Before Dawn charts the years of exile in the life of famous Jewish Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, his inner struggle for the "right attitude" toward the events in war torn Europe, and his search for a new home.
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In 1936, Stefan Zweig, the illustrious author of " 24 Hours of a Woman's Life" and "Letter from an Unknown Woman", leaves Austria for South America. Being Jewish and hating the inhumanity that prevails in Germany while threatening his native country, he has decided to escape the specter of Nazism. Brazil is his chosen country. He is immediately hailed at Rio de Janeiro's Jockey Club by the local jet set. But whereas expect him to take sides and to make a statement against Hitler and his clique, Zweig refuses to renounce his humanity and to indulge in over-simplification: he just cannot condemn Germany and its people. On the other hand, the great writer literally falls in love with Brazil and undertakes the writing of a new book about the country. Accompanied by Lotte, his second wife he explores different regions, including the most remote ones...Written by
Josef Hader is one of the best actors you will ever see. Believe it. If you do not know anything about Zweig and if you want to see Hader acting, because you have not seen him before than go for this one. It is entertaining enough to sit it through somehow. And Hader is - as always - a magnet to the eyes. But apart from Haders's acting this movie is a disaster. Zweig's life has so much potential, but Maria Schrader decided to show Zweig's inner struggle with his emigration from Europe to America in 5 or 6 long snapshot-dialogues. And to deliver the message with everything what happened in Zweig's life, Schrader was forced to bend the talking in the dialogues in such a way that all information was said in some sort of everyday tittle-tattle between Zweig, his wives, and other people. So the movie gets very artificial and artistically forced. And so we got tired in our seats. It would have been much better to make a mock-documentary about Zweig (with Hader). Anyway, for lovers of great acting I recommend it, but only because of Hader's unmissable acting: to be honest, Hader could play an old sneaker resting for years in a shoe box and it would still be worthwhile seeing it.
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