Never Look Away

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
189 minutes
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Inspired – controversially – by the life of German artist Gerhard Richter, this Oscar-nominated epic, from the director of The Lives of Others, recounts a remarkable love story.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Oscar winner for The Lives of Others) takes a vast view of German history, over three eras, in this remarkable love story inspired by the life of revered artist Gerhard Richter. The film follows Kurt from his childhood in Nazi Germany, to his life as a young artist (now played by Tom Schilling, Oh Boy, SFF 2013) trained to capture the bravery of the working class of East Germany, to someone struggling to find his particular artistic vision when he enjoys freedom of expression in West Germany. At the story's centre is a beautiful and tragic love story, beginning when Kurt falls in love with fellow student Ellie (Paula Beer, Transit, SFF 2018; Frantz). Though very much in love, Ellie's father Professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch, The Lives of Others) objects to the relationship and is determined to bring it to an end. With two of Germany's finest young actors, and an incredibly dramatic story, Donnersmarck carefully intertwines the romance with three key eras of German history in a fascinating way. At the same time, we witness how this love, and this history, affect Kurt as an artist who finally finds his own true path.

Enrich your film experience with In Frame, a short and engaging critique of Never Look Away produced by The University of Sydney.

An earlier version of this page listed Florian Henckel von Donnersmark as a festival guest. Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances, Florian will not be attending the festival. 

Mesmerizing, compulsively watchable … this meditation on art, memory and meaning is yet another deep-dive into the postwar psyche of the filmmaker’s native Germany.
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post


Sun 9 June
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Tue 11 June
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Wed 12 June
Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
Past Event Cancel
In Frame Video By
Program Strand
Official Competition, Selling Fast, Festival Guests
Original Title
Werk ohne Autor
In German with English subtitles
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Jan Mojto, Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann, Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck
Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Caleb Deschanel, ASC
Patricia Rommel, BFS
Australian Premiere
Human Rights, Politics & Economics, Biography, Cinephile
Company Credits
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
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