A new man joins the civilian firefighters at a London unit during the Second World War. He meets his fellow firemen and firewomen, manages to enjoy some leisure time with them, and then ... See full summary »
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »
Gabriel de Gravone
As a young couple stops and rests in a small village inn, the man is abducted by Death and is sequestered behind a huge doorless, windowless wall. The woman finds a mystic entrance and is ... See full summary »
In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over ... See full summary »
Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station, is obsessed by Hannouma, an attractive young woman who sells drinks. ... See full summary »
Two segments. The first one arranges six stories from Cesare Pavese's "Dialoghi con Leucò", taken from classical mythology. The second segment is taken from Pavese's novel "La luna e i falò... See full summary »
Under the Bridges is another fantastic film from German director Helmut Kautner. The plot of the film centers on a barge on the waterways of Germany in some unidentified time and the relationship between the two owners of the boat. This relationship becomes strained, and develops into a classic love triangle, when a woman comes on board and stays with them for a short time. As is usual of Kautner's films the characters are highly sympathetic and their relationships very realistic and well thought out. Almost anyone can identify with at least one of these archetypal main characters, whether it is the "Damsel in Distress" Anna, the "Loner with a Heart of Gold" Hendrick, or the "Nice Guy" Willy.
The most interesting factor in this film though is one that happens off screen. Filmed in 1945, and often interrupted by overhead allied bombers, this was one of the final films to pass the censors of the Third Reich in March 1945, the month before the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the soon following German surrender. Despite the pervasiveness of the looming military and political disaster that was apparent in Germany at the time the present is entirely absent from the film. The plot takes place in some sort of time out of time that is familiar and identifiable as some time in 20th century Germany, but this is only a vague placement. The timeless quality so embraced is indicative of Kautner's desire to remain apolitical during the war and to remain simply a filmmaker. The blissful ignorance of the film's contemporary political reality gives the film a very escapist quality, a very probable goal of Kautner's.
This film taken in its historical context has a very important message. It seems to largely be saying that no matter what happens on the world stage we are all still human and that no matter what befalls us we continue to survive, thrive, live, and love. This attitude towards human life is something that gives Kautner's films their human quality; that certain feeling that comes through them which seems to say "Despite all that happens, we must maintain hope."
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