The Origin of Violence


Philadelphia Premiere
Sunday, November 6
7:30 PM
Ambler Theater

Director: ƒÉlie Chouraqui
Genre: Narrative Feature
Country: Germany and France
Year: 2016
Running Time: 116 min
Language: French and German w/ English subtitles

Buy tickets HERE

Nathan Fabre teaches in a French-German school while working on his thesis about French resistance to the Nazis during World War II. During a research trip to Buchenwald, he discovers a photograph of a concentration camp prisoner who strikingly resembles his own father. Back in France, still haunted by the image, Nathan looks to his father for answers but is met with impenetrable silence. Committed to learning the truth, Nathan pursues the matter himself by digging deep into his family history, meanwhile complicating his relationship with a young German woman whose family history is similarly murky.

By interviewing curators of the Holocaust memorial, tracking down survivors who may have known the man in the photograph, and confronting all of his living relatives, Nathan pieces together secrets that have been kept hidden for more than 60 years.

Based on Fabrice Humbert’s semi-autobiographical, prize-winning 2009 novel of the same name, THE ORIGIN OF VIOLENCE will have you on the edge of your seat through its innovative use of flashbacks to provide a reason for our protagonist’s history of unchecked anger.

Guest Speaker: Ian Fleishman, Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Sponsor: Janet and Howard Pack

Film Trailer Note: This trailer is in French with no subtitles. 

Awards and Honors: Official Selection of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Subjects: Affairs of the heart, concentration camps, family history, guilt, Holocaust, memories, reconciling the past, relationships, violence

For Fans Of: Book-to-film adaptations, Ƀlie Chouraqui, Fabrice Humbert, family dramas, father and son stories, French cinema, psychological thrillers, The Origin of Violence (novel)

Community Partners:



Ambler Theater




interfaithfamily-philadelphia philadelphia-jewish-voice


Saint Joseph’s University Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations



University of Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Committee