Oliver Becker and Katharina Bruner’s collaboration Into the Cold Dawn is an innovative approach to biographical cinema. The film recounts the life of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich through the eyes of a fictional film director (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl) who is shooting a movie about Shostakovich.
In this film about the making of a film, a fictional director reviews scenes from feature films for which Shostakovich wrote the music during the rule of Stalin. He meets and interviews family members and companions of the composer, like Mstislav Rostropovich, and re-enacts key moments in Shostakovich’s life using marionette puppets. At the end of his investigation, the director realizes the impossibility of creating a clear portrait of the composer, an individual whose contradictory nature makes such cinematic reductions hopeless.
Released in 2008, this German film draws its title from the song of the same name, originally composed by Shostakovich for the film Der Gegenplan, which in 1961 was sung by Yuri Gagarin in space. It was directed by Oliver Becker, who has often specialized in classical music documentary-making, and Katharina Bruner, also active in stage and costume design, who have worked together since 2005.
Martin Kušej (stage director), Mariss Jansons (...