The Counterfeiters (‘Die Fälscher’)

DRAMA; 1hr 38min (German with subtitles)

STARRING: Karl Markovics, August Diehl

Making money: from left, Markovics and Diehl

With his narrow, dour face and air of deep suspicion, Karl Markovics is the physical ideal for Jewish forger Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch, a concentration-camp prisoner who is recruited to an expert detail of Jews assigned by the embattled Nazis to flood the Allied market with bogus British pounds and American dollars.


Housed in a “golden cage”, the men are treated relatively well — relative to the torment they have endured, that is — but the ethical cost is terrible. Can they continue to fund the Nazis? And if so, what toll will that take to them? Based on Adolf Burger’s 1983 memoir The Devil’s Workshop, writer-director Stephan Ruzowitzky’s muted, fluid account (the winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film) answers its own, critical question of how far human beings will go to survive. The long-term repercussions for the prisoners of the golden cage have echoes no movie can encompass.