Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Seethaler, THE TOBACCONIST follows a young man’s sexual and spiritual awakening amidst escalating violence and anti-Semitism on the eve of Hitler’s takeover of Vienna.
Envisioning a better life for her child, Franz’s mother sends her son to Vienna to apprentice in an old friend’s smoke shop. Under the tutelage of Otto (Johannes Krisch), a disabled war vet whose reputation for selling goods to communists and Jews has made him more than a few enemies, Franz (Simon Morzé) discovers the secrets to being a good tobacconist. Learning to read the desires of Otto’s most favored patrons, Franz endears himself to clients whose vices include procuring fine cigars and sneaking dirty magazines. One of Otto’s regulars, the world-renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (the late great Bruno Ganz), takes a liking to the ambitious 17-year-old and does not mind offering him guidance. Admitting that the female sex remains as elusive as it was when he was a boy, Freud encourages Franz to pursue Anezka (Emma Drogunova), the beautiful and mysterious young woman who haunts his dreams. However, with the city on the brink of war and his new friend in imminent danger, the dramas that shroud his thoughts and overcome his dreams are soon swept up into the much darker maelstrom of events shaking the foundations of Europe and the world.