Der Vorleser

Germany

Synopsis

THE READER opens in post-WWII Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna, a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive affair. Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from The Odyssey, Huck Finn and The Lady with the Little Dog. Despite their intense bond, Hanna mysteriously disappears one day and Michael is left confused and heartbroken. Eight years later, while Michael is a law student observing the Nazi war crime trials, he is stunned to find Hanna back in his life - this time as a defendant in the courtroom. As Hanna’s past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives. THE READER is a haunting story about truth and reconciliation, about how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another.

Director's Statement

This is a film about truth and reconciliation. The book is of huge historical significance in Germany. It is the singular novel addressing the problem of ’How do we continue after what we have done?’ It exposes ordinary people who commit these crimes - the banality of evil. The only way to make the film was to do it in Germany, with a German crew - and one of the greatest ensembles of German actors in recent history.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Written by: David Hare

Produced by: Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris

Cinematography: Chris Menges, Roger Deakins

Main Cast: Kate Winslet (Hanna Schmitz), Ralph Fiennes (Michael Berg), David Kross (young Berg), Lena Olin (Rose Mather / Ilana Mather), Bruno Ganz (Professor Rohl)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actress 2009
  • European Actor 2009
  • European Film 2009
  • Feature Film Selection 2009