Discover Germany, Issue 57, December 2017

Page 38

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Film Review


Woman in Gold (2015) – filmed in Vienna, Austria

Main image: Scene from Woman in Gold.  Photo: © The Weinstein Company Inc. Top right: The painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, also known as Woman in Gold by Gustav Klimt. Photo: © Wikipedia Commons

Woman in Gold is one of those films that really inspired me to travel to a new destination and to discover the city of Vienna for myself. Plus, in terms of the story, this drama just has it all: It highlights the incredible injustices that the European Jews suffered under the dictatorship of Hitler and the Nazis, shows you the beauty of ‘golden’ Viennese art at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and even adds some subtle humour. TEXT: SONJA IRANI

The Story The film is based on the true story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) – a Jewish woman who had to flee to the USA when the Nazis occupied her hometown Vienna in Austria in 1938. Roughly 50 years later, Altmann takes the state of Austria to court in order to win back a painting that was stolen from her formerly wealthy Jewish family by the Nazis. This artwork, now commonly known as The Woman in Gold, shows Altmann’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer and was painted by the famous Viennese artist Gustav Klimt. The Location The film is partly set in Los Angeles where Altmann lives at present, and partly in her former hometown Vienna through flash38  |  Issue 57  |  December 2017

backs and present-day travels. The film locations in Vienna include the Belvedere art gallery, the Giant Ferris Wheel at Vienna’s all-year entertainment fair ‘Prater’, the Holocaust Memorial and Judenplatz, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Hotel Sacher, Vienna’s Concert House, the State Opera, the City Hall and St. Ulrichsplatz. If you would like to find out more about how you can trace these locations on a walk through the city, check out my dedicated post for the filming locations of Woman in Gold on my blog The Final Verdict Altmann’s personal struggle carries an important political message – especially as we see extreme right-wing populists and nationals gain alarmingly increasing support

Below right: A typical Viennese Jugendstil building as seen in the film Woman in Gold. Photo: © Sonja Irani, Bottom: The Belvedere art gallery was featured as one of the filming locations in Woman in Gold. Photo: © Sonja Irani,

again in 2017. In the film, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) says: “People forget, you see. Especially the young. I have to do what I can to keep these memories alive”. Overall an amazing real-life story and a beautifully done ‘travel film’, Woman in Gold really inspired me to explore the culturally rich capital of Austria. **** 4 out of 5 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Irani is a (tourism) marketing translator, travel journalist and ex London expat now living back in Germany. Her second home is the cinema. If you don’t find her there, she is probably travelling the world in order to trace her favourite film settings. On her blog she shares her best tips for film-inspired travel on a budget.