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The Aftermath Movie Poster THE AFTERMATH is set in postwar Germany in 1945. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of H...

The Aftermath [Movie]

The Aftermath Movie Poster
THE AFTERMATH is set in postwar Germany in 1945. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY
ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD
JASON CLARKE
DIRECTED BY .............................................................. JAMES KENT
SCREENPLAY BY ........................................................ JOE SHRAPNEL &
........................................................................................ ANNA WATERHOUSE
........................................................................................ RHIDIAN BROOK
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY ....................................... RHIDIAN BROOK
PRODUCED BY ............................................................ JACK ARBUTHNOTT, p.g.a.
........................................................................................ MALTE GRUNERT, p.g.a.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER ............................................ RIDLEY SCOTT
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS .......................................... CARLO DUSI
........................................................................................ BETH PATTINSON
........................................................................................ JOE OPPENHEIMER
LINE PRODUCER ......................................................... SARAH JANE WHEALE
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY ................................ FRANZ LUSTIG
PRODUCTION DESIGNER .......................................... SONJA KLAUS
EDITOR .......................................................................... BEVERLEY MILLS
COSTUME DESIGNER ................................................. BOJANA NIKITOVIČ
MUSIC BY ..................................................................... MARTIN PHIPPS
CASTING BY ................................................................ NINA GOLD

THE AFTERMATH is set in postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg during the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents in association with BBC Films, and with the support of Deutscher Filmförderfonds and Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, a Scott Free Films and Amusement Park Film production THE AFTERMATH. Directed by James Kent with a screenplay by Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse (Race) and Rhidian Brook, based upon Brook’s novel, the film stars Academy Award®-nominee Keira Knightley (Colette, The Imitation Game, Atonement), Emmy Award®-winner Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan, Big Little Lies) and Jason Clarke (First Man, Zero Dark Thirty, Everest). The producers are Jack Arbuthnott for Scott Free Films and Malte Grunert, and the executive producers are Ridley Scott, Carlo Dusi, and Beth Pattinson and Joe Oppenheimer for BBC Films. The filmmaking team includes director of photography Franz Lustig, production designer Sonja Klaus, editor Beverly Mills, costume designer Bojana Nikitovič, music by Martin Phipps and casting by Nina Gold.

FROM THE ASHES OF WAR
“I’d never really considered that moment in history before—nobody could have known what the future held, least of all the defeated German people. It felt like a fantastic collision of an extraordinary and inspirational backdrop with a very personal and credible story.”
-Jack Arbuthnott, Producer

After the end of the World War II, in the late 1940s, control of Germany was divided among the British, the Americans, the Russians, and the French—their combined mission was to help rebuild the war-ravaged nation. The port city of Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city after Berlin, had suffered a devastating five-day bombing raid by the Allied forces in 1943 that killed 100,000 people and caused the destruction of 6,200 acres. Millions of German citizens were either homeless or without food, fuel, or other necessities when the British arrived. After the cessation of hostilities, the native population was barred from having any involvement in running their own affairs.

It is under these circumstances that Rachael Morgan travels from England to the ruins of Hamburg to be reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city after the end of the second World War. As they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: the couple will be sharing their residence with its previous owners, the architect who designed the grand house, Stephan Lubert, and his troubled teenage daughter, Freda. Although the sprawling estate offers plenty of room for both the English couple and the displaced Germans, the unconventional arrangement breeds tension and discomfort, with Rachael harboring a simmering resentment toward the guests she views as interlopers.

The arrangement makes Rachael deeply uncomfortable. She resents the presence of outsiders she perceives as suspect, and she longs instead for time alone with Lewis to help heal the wounds that have taken a toll on their marriage. But the charged atmosphere soon takes on a different tenor. Lubert discovers that Rachael is locked in a prison of sorrow over the death of her young son in a London air raid, while Rachael learns that Lubert lost his beloved wife in an Allied bombing campaign. Remarkably, the one person to sense the profound isolation Rachael feels is Lubert, a man who now haunts the rafters of his home like a ghost. Unable to practice his chosen profession without clearance from British officials, Lubert is forced to take a factory job as a metal press operator. He’s a shadow of himself, struggling to hold together a façade of strength in the face of tremendous uncertainty as he waits for the next chapter of his life to begin.

As she begins to absorb the weight of what they, too, lost in the conflict, Rachael’s stance toward the Germans begins to soften, slowly, evidenced by small gestures. She invites Freda to practice piano in the main living quarters any time she would like. Slowly, the tension between Rachael and Lubert begins to take on a different dimension, as she begins to see him as a kindred injured spirit and finds herself drawn to him.

Lewis, meanwhile, remains oblivious to the blossoming relationship between Rachael and Lubert, too consumed by his duties and too closed off from Rachael to take note of her infidelity. Only too late does he realize what his neglectful attitude might have cost him.

Rachael and Stephen’s two wounded souls find themselves in the grips of a reluctant attraction that pulls them ever closer to one another. Finally, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal, changing the course of their lives forever.

AN UNTOLD MOMENT IN HISTORY

Rhidian Brook, author of the 2013 international best-selling novel The Aftermath, used the seed of his own grandfather’s improbable history to inspire this remarkable story. Colonel Walter Brook was one of the English officers dispatched to Germany to get the country back on its feet after years of death and destruction. Governor of a district near Hamburg, Walter Brook, requisitioned a house for his family but chose not to have its German owners evicted. Thus, two families—who months before had been on opposite sides of the deadly conflict—found themselves sharing a home, an arrangement that lasted for five years.

Walter Brook was the inspiration for Colonel Lewis Morgan, the enlightened and altruistic army officer who allows Stephan Lubert, an architect awaiting official permission to work again, to stay on in his mansion on the Elbe. “Although the events depicted in THE AFTERMATH are of my own making, this story could not have been written without my grandfather’s unique act of kindness,” says Rhidian Brook.

THE AFTERMATH script focused on Rachael’s strained marriage to Lewis and her growing connection to Lubert. The sensitivity and nuance with which the love triangle was drawn appealed to director James Kent, a veteran of film, television, and documentaries who won acclaim with his 2014 feature Testament of Youth, starring Oscar®-winner Alicia Vikander as a British woman coming-of-age during World War I. “It’s about a bereaved woman who has lost her child during the war,” Kent says. “It’s a universal story of how you repair yourself and move on in life. It’s got a very redemptive message, which was very important to me.”

In 2010, the novelist and screenwriter pitched the story to Scott Free, the U.S-UK production company founded by brothers Ridley and Tony Scott. “Rhidian started telling me the true story of his family’s time in Hamburg and then the fictional story inspired by that,” says Scott Free executive and THE AFTERMATH producer Jack Arbuthnott.

Arbuthnott brought the project to Ridley Scott and was amazed to learn that the director lived in Hamburg at the exactly the time the story was set. “Ridley has an extraordinary memory for what the time was like,” Arbuthnott says. “He showed me photos of him and his brother Tony with their dog standing by their bicycles outside their house in Hamburg. It was a striking piece of serendipity.”
“It completely recalled my childhood,” says Scott of the project. “In 1947, I was 10 at the time, my father was important in the army—we lived in Frankfurt, then in Hamburg. My house in Frankfurt, in fact, was the house of a German officer. My mother was very friendly toward his wife who would come once a month to check that we were looking after the house. So, it was very similar, except my mother didn’t have an affair with the German housekeeper.”

As Rhidian Brook began working on the script, he was offered a contract by Penguin Books to tell the story in novel form, a project that became 2013’s The Aftermath. Although Brook remained involved in developing the film and revising the screenplay, Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse (whose previous credits include the Jesse Owens biopic Race) were also brought on to shape the screenplay. “They gave the screenplay a new simplicity and coherence,” says Jack Arbuthnott. “They deepened the characters and brought a rigorous, fresh approach that was the perfect complement to Rhidian’s work.”

An avid student of history, director James Kent was struck not just by the complexity of the characters and the emotional arc of the story but also by the singular backdrop that serves as the setting for the film. “It’s an extraordinary moment—the world’s been absolutely laid flat in a way it never had before,” Kent says. “The British in particular felt very strongly that we shouldn’t repeat what happened at the end of the First World War, so the idea of punishing Germany was off the agenda. For me, that makes it an astonishingly generous, positive, and far-sighted moment in British history. Of course, the European Union came out of this moment, and it felt to me like this was something that spoke to us very directly now.”










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