Inspired by the early life and career of renowned contemporary artist Gerhard Richter, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) once again looks into the dark corners of his country's recent history. Postwar East Germany provides fertile ground for exploring the role of the individual within a totalitarian system that disregards the rights of its citizens. At the same time, he also delves fearlessly into the reprehensible legacy of prewar and wartime Germany: eugenics and the extermination of those considered subhuman or undesirable.The film tells the parallel stories of Seeband, a doctor involved in "cleansing" allegedly racially inferior people, and of Kurt, a young boy who is fascinated by art. The way the fates of these two men intertwine becomes the dramatic focus in von Donnersmarck's remarkable reflection on the two sides of East Germany's political and ideological past. Kurt enters art school, where social realism is the only accepted form, but longs to express himself freely. Seeband, formerly an agent of fascism, manages to adapt and prosper in the new communist state, but his past will return to haunt him.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born in Cologne. He studied at Oxford and at the University of Television and Film (HFF) in Munich. His films include the shorts Dobermann (1999) and The Tamplar (2002). His debut feature The Lives of Others (2006),won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, He also made THE Tourist (2010), and now, Never Look Away (2018).