News

25. Februar 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- ''The Counterfeiters,'' the Austrian tale of a master forger forced to work for Nazis in a concentration camp, won the foreign-language Oscar on Sunday. Now it has to earn some respect.
The category's five nominees had been overshadowed in weeks leading up to the ceremony by an uproar that severally critically-acclaimed films didn't make the cut.
In the end, a young-looking movie about an historic subject took home the prize. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky and based on printer Adolph Burger's memoir ''The Devil's Workshop,'' ''The Counterfeiters'' uses documentary-style handheld camera and quick zooms for a unique look at a little-known World War II story.
''There have been some great Austrian filmmakers working here,'' Ruzowitzky said in his acceptance speech. ''Thinking of Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Otto Preminger, most of them had to leave my country because of the Nazis, so it sort of makes sense that the first Austrian movie to win an Oscar is about the Nazis' crimes.
Ruzowitzky, who was raised in Germany, said backstage that Nazi crimes had been a part of his family history. ''I always felt I should make a statement about this period of time,'' he said.
Two separate producers -- one German, one Austrian -- approached the director within two weeks, both with separate pitches to make a film out of Burger's book. ''I introduced them to one another,'' he said, and the movie became a joint production. Austrians put aside their love for opera and classical music to get swept up in ''The Counterfeiters.'' ''Being nominated, it was really for the whole country an exciting thing,'' Ruzowitzky said. ''I hope very much this award will help Austrian filmmakers to make film in Austria stronger, have some more pressure on the politicians to support the film industry.''