Directed by Istvan Szabo, this is the third collaboration, after Mephisto and Colonel Redl, between Szabó, Brandauer and cinematographer Lajos Koltai. Klaus Schneider (Brandauer) is an Austrian sergeant whose clairvoyant gifts first attract moderate acclaim during his recuperation from fighting in WWI. In hospital he forms friendships with two people who will help him to shape his future: Jewish psychologist Bettelheim (Josephson) and Nowotny (Eperjes), an ambitious army acquaintance who decides to promote Schneider’s talents. On tours of Vienna and Berlin under the stage name of Hanussen, Schneider’s phenomenal predictions bring him into contact with the decadent post-war elite; and despite his apolitical stance, his prophecies of Hitler’s rise to power inevitably implicate him with the Nazis, threatening his friendships and precarious sense of stability… Brandauer’s dominating screen presence is perfectly suited to the role of the charismatic seducer, whose abilities to transfer his will and to control respondents serve as a not so subtle metaphor for the rise of Fascism. Szabó heightens the mysticism with a pervading sense of menace which, together with Koltai’s exquisite visuals, captivates attention throughout.
“Hanussen” will screen at the Faith Wine Centre on Friday 19th July. At 7.30 pm, a very interesting film from the West Bank, “Make a Wish”, will screen, then a short refreshment break before the main feature.