Gallenberger pays homage to "China’s Schindler"
by Bénédicte Prot
18/10/2007 - Three years after Shadows of Time, Florian Gallenberger, director of the Oscar-winning short Quiero ser (2000), begins filming in Shanghai today on his interesting and ambitious third feature, John Rabe.
The biographical project – presented at the Cannes Film Market this year by Beta Cinema – brings to light the heroic acts of German business man Rabe who during the 1937 Nanking invasion by the Japanese was able to create a protected zone with the help of an important group, thus saving about 250,000 inhabitants from the "Nanking Massacre" that followed. Later arrested by the Gestapo, he fell into anonymity and poverty after WWII, surviving only thanks to packages sent by the people of Nanking until his death in 1949.
Thanks to his diary, found ten years ago and published, the heroism of a man the New York Times called “China’s Schindler” has come to light. It is from these writings that Gallenberger wrote the film’s screenplay.
Produced by Hofmann & Voges Entertainment, EOS Entertainment and Majestic Filmproduktion in co-production with Paris-based Pampa Production, a Chinese partner and ZDF, John Rabe carried a €15m budget.
The project, which received funding from various state bodies (€1.4m from FFF Bavaria, FFA, DFFF, MBB) is reuniting an increasingly remarkable artistic team.
DoP is Jürgen Jürges, who previously worked with Gallenberger for the two afore- mentioned films, especially with Haneke.
Filming – which will also take place in Nanking – is due to wrap up in February. John Rabe will be released in Germany by Majestic Filmverleih at the end of next year.
(Translated from French)