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About the Film

Franz, a 17-year-old boy from rural Austria, comes to Vienna to apprentice in a smoke shop. Although tyranny under the Nazi occupation and hatred towards Jews has worsened oppression and conditions, the tobacco store remains a small sanctuary for newspaper- and cigarette-seekers. He gradually befriends Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychoanalyst and a regular customer. When the shop’s politically outspoken owner is taken away by the Nazis, Franz and Freud stand at the crossroads of survival.

Based on Austrian writer Robert Seethaler′s novel of the same name, THE TOBACCONIST is a tender and gripping coming-of-age story under tragic circumstances through the Freudian lens of dreams, libido, and death that transform a boy to a man. Actor Bruno Ganz (WINGS OF DESIRE) plays Freud.

Director Bio

Nikolaus Leytner was born in Graz, Austria. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, obtaining an MA in directing and screenwriting. He was a founding member of Allegro Film Production and the Austrian Film Academy in 2009. He currently works as a director and screenwriter based in Vienna.

tobacconist poster

Film Details:

Director: Nikolaus Leytner
Country: Austria, Germany
Language: German, Czech w/subtitles
Running Time: 113m
Year: 2018
Genre: Narrative
Original Title: Der trafikant
Rating/Warning: R


  • Sigmund Freud
  • Vienna
  • WWII
  • Cigar
  • Literary adaptation



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Community Partner: University of Washington Stroum Center for Jewish Studies