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The City Without Jews (Blu-ray) Flicker Alley Ltd


Based on the controversial and best-selling novel by Hugo Bettauer, H.K. Breslauer’s 1924 film adaptation of The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden) was produced two years after the publication of the book, and, tragically, only a brief time before the satirical events depicted in the fictional story transformed an all-too-horrific reality.

Set in the Austrian city of Utopia (a thinly-disguised stand-in for Vienna), the story follows the political and personal consequences of an anti-Semitic law passed by the National Assembly forcing all Jews to leave the country. At first, the decision is met with celebration, yet when the citizens of Utopia eventually come to terms with the loss of the Jewish population—and the resulting economic and cultural decline—the National Assembly must decide whether or not to invite the Jews back. Though darkly comedic in tone, and stylistically influenced by German Expressionism, the film nonetheless contains ominous and eerily realistic sequences, such as the shots of freight trains transporting Jews out of the city.

The stinging critique of Nazism in the film is part of the reason it no longer screened in public after 1933 (all complete prints were thought to be destroyed). Now, thanks to the discovery of a nitrate print in a Parisian flea market in 2015, as well as to the brilliant restoration efforts of the Filmarchiv Austria, this previously “lost” film can once again be appreciated in its unfortunately ever-relevant entirety.

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Special Features

Victims of Hatred" ("Opfer des Hasses") (1923) – A semi-documentary feature additionally restored by Filmarchiv Austria about the Jewish refugees who fled pogroms in Russia, produced by the Jüdisches Hilfswerk – the Jewish Relief Organization in Vienna. Music composed and performed by Donald Sosin. ONLY IN THIS EDITION! (46:12)
• Conversation with Dr. Nikolaus Wostry, Filmarchiv Austria (2019) – Dr. Margrit Frölich moderates an in-depth interview with Dr. Nikolaus Wostry, managing director and head of film collections at Filmarchiv Austria, discussing the challenging history of the film and its legacy in the Republic of Austria today. ONLY IN THIS EDITION! (33:42)
• Saving “Die Stadt ohne Juden” (2016) – Filmarchiv Austria’s crowdfunding campaign video for the digital scanning of The City without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden), an integral step in the process of rescuing and preserving this landmark of Austrian silent cinema. ONLY IN THIS EDITION! (3:42)
• “The City without…Jews, Muslims, Refugees, Foreigners” – The chilling images featured in this slide show of the 2018 exhibition at METRO Flicker Alleykulturhaus document both the historical context of the film and its truly expansive contemporary relevance. ONLY IN THIS EDITION! (0:17)
• Collector’s Edition Souvenir Booklet – Limited edition booklet with new essays by Ernst Kieninger, Armin Loacker, and Cynthia Walk on the film’s history and significance, as well as articles on the comprehensive reconstruction and restoration process by Anna Dobringer and Fumiko Tsuneishi, and an introduction to the edition’s unique bonus features by Margrit Frölich.




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