Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (Vor der Morgenrote) (NR)
Zweig's lodge represented everything that Hitler was determined to annihilate: It was the cosmopolitan, egalitarian ideal the Nazis detested. By 1934, less than a year after Hitler's rise to power, Zweig fled into self-imposed exile, first in England and then in Brazil, where he and his second wife took their own lives in 1942.
Written by Schrader and Jan Schomburg and divided into six chapters, the film charts Zweig's gradual sinking into despair at the rise of European fascism and the ensuing war. The delineation between episodes suggests a collection of monographs, which is intentional and apt, considering that the author's greatest expression of his talents came in his historical treatises. Through these, Zweig draws portraits of major figures of Western civilization, but also finds parallels between them and his own time. Schrader's movie has similar intentions, and Josef Hader, as Zweig, delivers one of the great performances of recent years.