The Counterfeiters as Bildungsfilm: A Genre Study

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In this essay, I will suggest that appraisals of Holocaust-themed cinema may benefit from greater attention to a conversation that has been going on within literary studies, historiography, and film studies for some time now as to whether it is precisely as fiction that historical cinema can articulate a sincere and ethically engaged relationship to the past. I will take as my chief example The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher, 2007), directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, a film that unashamedly fictionalizes history by creating characters and scenarios that are not documented in its source text but help to intensify audience interest in the ethical dilemmas with which those characters are confronted. The Counterfeiters is a noteworthy historical film as it has been largely well received, even by highly invested audiences, for the subtle historical significations and ethical ambiguities of its Bildungsheld, Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-676
Number of pages24
JournalCollege Literature
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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