Never Look Away beautifully blends the horrors and creativity of painter Kurt Barnert’s life growing up and living through Nazi and CommunistGermany. Based on the true events and spanning through three different eras of German history, the film sheds light on the work and process of creative minds of that time. The film dares you to look away but leaves the audience hanging on every event, beautiful or not.
The life of Barnert is showcased beautifully by taking on his perspective in key memories throughout the film, putting viewers into his shoes and holding his unflinching gaze.
Watching through the lens of Barnert, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck shows an undoctored gaze into the process of creativity. Through the historical lens, Never Look Away took a deep dive into stories you couldn’t understand just by reading a history textbook.
The use of Socialist Realism vs Modern Art in the film was a beautiful and subtle nod to differing opinions of East and West Germany. The film is long and demands attention, but the stories deserve every minute.