Salem Film Fest 2023 – The Kaiser of Atlantis
United States PremiereTickets starting at $13 Buy Tickets
A Q&A with Director Sebastián Alfie follows the screening.
In 1943, a group of musicians imprisoned in the Terezin Nazi concentration camp did the unimaginable — they wrote and rehearsed an opera, ‘The Kaiser of Atlantis.’ The piece openly mocked Adolf Hitler and represents one of the bravest, least-known acts of artistic resistance during that period. Composer Viktor Ullman never saw its premiere; he was assassinated in Auschwitz two weeks after the first dress rehearsal.
Long considered lost, the manuscript was rescued and revived by Kerry Woodward, a Welsh conductor who is compelled to bring the opera to the stage. In a surprising twist, Woodward enlists the help of a spiritualist, Rosemary Brown, who claims to be able to communicate with Ullman and directs Woodward into making changes to the original score of the opera, which is performed in Amsterdam in 1975. Almost 40 years later, a lavish new production is planned for Madrid’s colosseum. In a film that combines animation, mysticism, history and drama, Argentine director Sebastián Alfie provides his audience with a fascinating portrait of an opera’s miraculous story.
Run time 77 minutes.