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Reunion with the “Lives of Others” Star

“Never Look Away” (German: “Werk ohne Autor”) is an emotional rollercoaster through three epochs of German history, shedding light on the madness and tragedy of the 20th century on the basis of three fates.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and the actor Sebastian Koch won an Oscar in 2006 with the East Germany drama “The Lives of Others”. They have had a very close and trusting friendship for years: “We regularly talk about the things that concern us, the material that interests us, the projects we are working on”, says Sebastian Koch. “I remember the first time he told me about his idea for ‘Never Look Away’. I was immediately aware that it was extraordinary material that had a lot to do with Florian, with the things that occupied him, that interested him. At the core of it was the meeting of two men, who at first seem to have nothing in common. They’re both brilliant minds, but they could not be more different, and they have absolutely opposite views of life and the world to boot. There’s young Kurt Barnert, an artist in search of his voice, filled with a ravenous hunger for life that he filters through his artistic soul. And then there’s sovereign Professor Seeband, who has an enormous amount of knowledge, but is emotionally completely impoverished. The irony is that both are great masters in their respective fields, but they are incompatible with each other. The story lets them live together under one roof after Kurt marries Seeband’s daughter, so conflict is inevitable... because they couldn’t possibly live together. This is a strong starting point. The film draws its strength from the clash of these two opposing men, and a wonderful story about the nature of inspiration and the power of art emerges”. There is an unmistakable kinship with the Oscar-winning film “The Lives of Others”, but it is shot on a much bigger scale: “When Florian told me about it, there was no script, just an idea. But his story was so elegant, so emotional, paired with a great knowledge and a great intelligence, so captivating that there was no doubt in my mind that it would be a great cinematic subject – and – that I absolutely wanted to be part of it”.