University of Manchester Holocaust Memorial Day event, in collaboration with Manchester Reform Synagogue
Free online streaming of Frank Beyer’s Jacob the Liar (GDR 1974), followed by discussion panel
German with English subtitles.| 97 mins
Frank Beyer’s 1974 East German-Czechoslovak coproduction Jakob the Liar was unique in Eastern Bloc film and the original to Peter Kassovitz’s Hollywood remake of 1999 with Robin Williams. In addition to receiving national and international accolades, it was the only East German film to be nominated for an Academy Award. Scripted by the East German Jewish writer Jurek Becker, a child survivor of the Łódź Ghetto, and the Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, the film saw several aborted attempts as the director fell into political disfavour and Eastern Bloc anti-Jewish campaigns reached new highs. In straddling political and aesthetic divides, such as Beyer’s and Becker’s socialist beliefs and their probing into alternative modes of Eastern Bloc Holocaust memory on the one hand, and the film’s fantastical elements against the dictate of socialist realism on the other, Beyer’s film and its remake exemplify the historical specificities of Holocaust memory nearly 50 years on.
This film streaming is accompanied by a live panel discussion with Prof. Sander L. Gilman (Emory University); Prof. Sabine Hake (University of Austin / Texas); Blanche Kommerell, Actor (Berlin). The discussion is chaired by Cathy Gelbin, Professor of Film and German Studies at the University of Manchester.