An impassioned clash of art and
olitics lies at the heart of Taking Sides, a historical drama that resonates with timeless relevance. Director Istvan Szabo remained in his native Hungary during Soviet occupation, and that experience clearly informed his approach to this fact-based film about Wilhelm Furtwangler, the celebrated conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, who chose to remain in Germany as the Nazis rose to power. World War II has ended, and now Furtwangler (superbly played by Stellan Skarsg??rd) must endure intense interrogation by Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel), a pugnacious U.S. Army major assigned to root out Nazi collaborators. While the overzealous Arnold deals in moral absolutes, Furtwangler s embrace of art for art s sake opens him up to charges that he supported Hitler, intentionally or not, by naively believing that art and politics could remain separate in the cauldron of the Third Reich. Based on the play by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist), Taking Sides presents a compelling collision of ideologies, probing complex personal and political motivations while presenting an authentic, emotionally charged portrait of German culture immediately following Hitler s demise. Despite its title, the film itself remains neutral regarding its central argument, leaving the viewer to ponder the weighty issues involved.