Susanne Wallner returns to the ruins of Berlin from a Concentration Camp after WW2 to discover that someone else lives in her apartment: Dr. Hans Mertens, the war made him depressive and he... See full summary »
Susanne Wallner returns to the ruins of Berlin from a Concentration Camp after WW2 to discover that someone else lives in her apartment: Dr. Hans Mertens, the war made him depressive and he drinks a lot of alcohol. Susanne asks him to go but he doesn't want to, so they share Susanne's apartment and even discover their sympathy and then their love for each other. That encourages him a little, of course. But then he hears that Ferdinand Brückner is still alive and also lives in Berlin. Brückner was his Captain during WW2, he gave the order to kill more than 100 innocent people, many children and women among them, on Christmas 1942 in Poland. Written by
Fine German Expressionist / Noir cinematography in the ruins of Berlin
Murderers Among Us is the first film made, of a vast trove of films, in the Soviet controlled sector of post-war Germany that was to become East Germany. It is deeply and masterfully immersed in the aesthetic traditions of German Expressionism and /or Film Noir: unusual angles and picture planes, extreme lighting effects, twisted stairs, bombed-out buildings that look like jagged fingers against the sky (it was shot in the ruins of Berlin), a haunted, tormented protagonist, stark black and white atmosphere, and, above all, shadows. Shadows and more shadows of every size, shape, and density. In fact this film could serve as a text book on shadow craft: the scene where a man is screaming from within the vast shadow of a pistol wielding attacker is magnificent. I haven't seen The Third Man recently but I am sure Murderers influenced it profoundly. I would recommend the Third Man as a good double feature with this film.
Murders belongs to a genre called 'rubble films', shot in the rubble of Germany and frequently dealing with issues of German guilt after WW II. Murderers does not seek to deal overmuch with the people who gave the orders, but with the many Germans who followed them with little or no protest. Such as the wounded doctor in this film who stood by while even children were executed as reprisals against resistance fighters in occupied Poland. Plotwise the film works quite nicely, and I liked the atmosphere of renewal, and perhaps relief at the end of a nightmare, amongst all that ruin and rubble as the German people began to pick themselves up.
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