After being screened at Febiofest in the regions, the film The Keeper, which brings the true story of Bert Trautmann to the big screen, will enter Czech distribution on 13 June. At the end of the war Trautmann, a young German, ended up in a British prisoner of war camp. Thanks to his football skills he went from there to Manchester City FC. “Our generation were unfamiliar with him, but when we met him 12 years ago in Valencia, where he lived, and discovered that his story wasn’t just about football, we decided to make a film about him,” said director Marcus H. Rosenmüller, adding that the screenplay was based on interviews with Trautmann himself.
The lead role is played by David Kross, known for the Oscar-winning drama The Reader. “Bert had elegance, but he was also a bit shy and very friendly. When I saw David one time, and how friendly and noble he was, I offered him the part immediately,” said the director. The actor trained for two and a half months with a German second-division club and also beefed up in the gym.
The film is less about football than reconciliation and overcoming prejudice and trauma. “Bert himself didn’t want us to focus on the famous game where he broke his neck,” said Rosenmüller. Though the action takes place in the 1940s and 1950s, the makers say the film has a message today. “It’s hard to judge whether Bert had any choice during the war, but in Germany today we have a choice. We can say what we think and we should fight for the right to live in a united Europe,” said the director and The Keeper’s producer Robert Marciniak.