$6 | (1924) | With live piano accompaniment by Marta Waterman | 2 hr 35 min
Based on Hugo Bettanauer’s relatively accurate allegorical vision of the near future and satirical response to the antisemitism of the 1920s, ‘City Without Jews’ tells a chillingly prescient story. In the city of Utopia ( a thinly veiled Vienna), Jews are expelled. At first, the decision is met with celebration, yet when the citizens of Utopia eventually come to terms with the loss of the Jewish population—and the resulting economic and cultural decline—the National Assembly must decide whether or not to invite the Jews back. Though darkly comedic in tone and stylistically influenced by German Expressionism, the film nonetheless contains ominous and eerily realistic sequences, such as the shots of freight trains transporting Jews out of the city. The stinging critique of Nazism in the film is part of the reason it was no longer screened in public after 1933 (all complete prints were thought to be destroyed). In 1925 Hugo Bettanauer was murdered by a Nazi Party follower on account of his opposition to antisemitism.