Let me first say I do not condone lying, but don’t you agree some lies are less harmful or hurtful than others? When I am attending a party where multiple people have contributed food items I will not eat any of it usually. If someone should ask me why I am not eating I will just say I am not hungry, even if I am. Unless I know the person I do not want to eat anything they created; I will stick to a store bought bag of pretzels. But would I tell them that is the reason? Absolutely not, so that is why I say I am not hungry. Technically it is a lie, but is it really hurting anyone? Now let me tell you about the time I took a helicopter ride, where the pilot asked the 5 of us for our weights. There was one person in the group that said a number that the rest of us were not sure was accurate. I wasn’t making a judgement call but I assumed the pilot needed exact weights to be able to distribute our weights evenly around the helicopter. The entire flight up I was concerned something was going to happen to us. Luckily nothing did, however what would have happened if that person actually did lie about their weight. Would the helicopter tip over on takeoff? Would a current of air push us into a tailspin? This could have been a lie that came with disastrous consequences. Though the scenarios I just described fall under a more personal domain, there are some lies that can affect a nation. PROSECUTOR Johann Radmann, played by Alexander Fehling (Inglorious Basterds, Young Goethe in Love), of the Attorney General’s office was the only person who believed the story was true about the school teacher being a former Nazi. With his boss Generalstaatsanwalt Fritz Bauer’s, played by Gert Voss (Sometime in August, Zettl), blessing Johann would find himself in a place where lying was easier than facing the truth. This film festival winner based on a true story played more like a thriller than drama in my opinion. Set in Germany during the 1950s, the story was a fascinating history lesson besides being a morality one. The cast which also included Andre Szymanski (Wolfsburg, In the Shadows) as journalist Thomas Gnielka and Friederike Becht (The Reader, Westwind) as Marlene Wondrak were all competent in their roles. In regards to the story, whether the more personal dramatic parts were real or not did not matter to me. I felt they only accentuated the magnitude of unfolding events. The other aspect to the story that I appreciated was the way the writers focused on such a monumental topic that had historical value yet made it to be told on a more human level. I cannot lie, this wa a real thought provoking movie. German was spoken with English subtitles.
3 1/4 stars
As I prepared to sit and watch this nearly 2 1/2 hour movie, I pondered the idea of people forced to live in a sewer to stay alive. When you hear this, you think it is not possible, that it is a made up story. However, it was not only a true story, but it was an experience that this movie depicted deftly, with no apologies. Leopold Socha played by Robert Wieckiewicz (All Will Be Well, Little Rose) was a sewer worker in the Nazi occupied town of Lvov, Poland. With Jews being rounded up for deportation to concentration camps or to be killed immediately, Socha was presented with an opportunity to make money off of the Jews’ plight–charge them money to be hidden in the town’s sewers, that he knew so well. What surprised me about this movie was its depiction of human nature. In the face of being exterminated, to see the petty fighting, sexual urges and jealously among the victims was something I have not seen in previous holocaust movies. The filming was a remarkable feat. The ability to convey the steady darkness in the sewers, yet provide us glimpses into the survivors’ daily perils, where things appeared more oppressive in the lightless dank, archaic sewer system was remarkable. This was not an easy movie to watch, but compared to what those people had to endure, it put my mind in the proper perspective. Nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign film category. Polish/German/Ukrainian/Yiddish with English subtitles.
3 1/4 stars