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Reporting from Berlin on the 68th edition February 15 -25, 2018
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters bring you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE

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Exodus to Shanghai offers choreographed spectacular action sequences, the highlight of the film


Beginning on the eve of the 1938 Nazi invasion of Austria, Exodus Shanghai retells the story of “the Schindler of China”, Dr. Feng Shan Ho (David Yu), a staff member of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna, who smuggled Jews out of the country, defying his superiors in Beijing. Over 13,000 Jews found sanctuary in Shanghai. In Hickox’s universe, Ho and his nephew Bruce also boast formidable martial arts skills and a penchant for ass-kicking. As scores of Nazis arrive, the duo and their staff must ensure the safety of their Jewish charges, including Bruce’s lover Fannia (Yaara Benbenishti), a beautiful American violin student. Meanwhile Fannia’s aunt and uncle, owners of an art gallery, discover a drawing of Hitler’s beloved German shepherd that they try to spirit to Shanghai before it falls into Nazi hands.

The ensemble cast is comprised largely of newcomers, with Benbenishti in her first lead role. German-born Markus von Lingen, cast here in the role of sadistic SS baddie Hermann, gives a teeth-clenching performance.

The film was written and produced by Michel Adam, better known as the founder of Fashion TV. This is his first feature.

The film is ordered into a series of vignettes segmented by silent film-style title cards and archival newsreel footage. The characters’ stories sometimes diverge, but they are all leading towards the same final outcome – escape from Austria. The rebels must learn what they can of martial arts and escape undetected.


Hickox and Adam explore the effects the Nazi regime had on music and art, including looting of artworks and the new political purposes of music. In the film’s opening scene, an auction of verboten artwork is interrupted by the news that the Wehrmacht are marching on Vienna. Cold-eyed villain Hermann takes a liking to Fannia and, in an eerie scene in his quarters, compels her to play Strauss on the violin.


The production design is excellent, with keen attention to historical period detail. The settings are diverse and believable. The film was shot on location in Romania and the United States. The street scenes capture the sense of disillusionment and panic the Viennese public feel as the Nazis take the city and swastika banners sprout like weeds from the facades of buildings.


The well-shot and choreographed action sequences are the highlight of the film. In a memorable moment, a stormtrooper pulling a “sieg heil” in front of Bruce gets his arm swiftly and sickeningly broken mid-salute. Protagonists and Nazis alike spit geysers of blood as they are hit. A scene where Dr Ho is captured in and tied to a chair puts to good use the opulent manors in Romania where much of the film was shot. In a dramatic crane shot, Ho fights his way out of his restraints.


In another memorable scene, heavily-armed gallery owners Mr and Mrs Morgenstern (Mike Altmann and Maia Morgenstern) turn the tables literally on a horde of invading SS in Tarantino-esque fashion.


Exodus Shanghai is a new take on the increasingly familiar Nazi thriller formula, shedding some light on the largely unexplored story of Dr Feng Shan Ho, a man that many in the West are unfamiliar with.



Director: Anthony Hickox

Writer: Michel Adam

Prod co: Fashion TV (FTV)

Article by Tom Llewellin


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Exodus to Shangai

Market Premiere at EFM February 12, Festival World Premiere Fantasporto March 3

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About Berlin

Chatelin Bruno

Berlin 2016: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Ole Schulz Lia Fietz, Aida Amasuno Martin, Martin Petrov and Bruno Chatelin...
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Feel free to leave us your comments and share the blogs with more fans from the festivals scene.


October 30, 2015 Deadline for film entries for the festival (feature length films)
November 17, 2015 Deadline for film entries for the festival (short films)
January 6, 2016 Application deadline for accreditations
February 2, 2016 Programme Press Conference at the "Federal Press and Information Office"; access with invitation only
February 11, 2016 Opening Ceremony of the
66th Berlin International Film Festival
February 11-19, 2016 European Film Market
February 13-18, 2016 Berlinale Talents
February 14-16, 2016 Berlinale Co-Production Market
February 20, 2016 Closing & Award Ceremony of the
66th Berlin International Film Festival
February 21, 2016 Berlinale Publikumstag




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