Sunday, 12 March 2017

ALONE IN BERLIN

Berlin in June of 1940. While Nazi propaganda celebrates the regime’s victory over France, a kitchen-cum-living room in Prenzlauer Berg is filled with grief. Anna and Otto Quangel’s son has been killed at the front. This working class couple had long believed in the ‘Führer’ and followed him willingly, but now they realise that his promises are nothing but lies and deceit. They begin writing postcards as a form of resistance and in a bid to raise awareness: Stop the war machine! Kill Hitler! Putting their lives at risk, they distribute these cards in the entrances of tenement buildings and in stairwells. But the SS and the Gestapo are soon onto them, and even their neighbours pose a threat. (tMDB)

Emma Thompson and Bendan Gleeson do a good job of playing Anna and Otto Quangel in this suspenseful drama. And Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Bastards) puts in a nuanced, compelling performance as the police detective. I liked ALONE IN BERLIN because it focuses on two ordinary German civilians who carry out such a simple subversive activity. We see so many stories of dramatic heroism — but this one is about people just doing what they can to protest. The story is told in a straightforward way with no sensationalism and very little action — and yet, it communicates the constant anxiety that people must have felt during the Nazi regime when you couldn’t trust anyone — even your closest friends.


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