This can be considered one of the very last films to be made in Nazi Germany - it passed the censorship in March 1945, but for obvious reasons didn't make it to the cinemas as the street battles were about to commence in Berlin in a few weeks. It's true that at least three new movies had their opening nights in Berlin as late as in March 1945, and reportedly two in April, which seems quite unbelievable. In most of his films Helmut Käutner succeeds in creating a world of his own, a sort of microcosm that holds only the people that we see on the screen. He did also excel in historical costume epics, but his forte was a simple, intimate film about what goes on in the soul. People often wonder, how is it possible that Käutner managed to create his films which are seemingly totally free of any kind of propaganda or references to the war and destruction around him during the time when propaganda was becoming the only remaining weaponry. But I don't think that's quite true: if Under the Bridges were made in a period of peace, it would totally lack the mesmerizing feeling that is attached to this film as we view in proper context. Suddenly it becomes amazingly human, allowing us to realize that even as most of the people in Germany must have thought they were facing total destruction and annihilation literally any day soon, they still kept living and loving and at some point the inner world must have eclipsed the world outside, were death was running amok. Being of the generation that hasn't seen war, I can only imagine how intense one's love or loneliness can grow in the world where there seems to be no tomorrow.
Whatever the story or the genre, Käutner manages to find aspects that make it interesting and wake a lot of human compassion. His storage of empathy and his skills to share it are bottomless. He truly was a great maker of great films about little people.
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