If You're Searching for Undiscovered Cinema Gems...This Is It!
Upon seeing the Promo Poster for the first time, I was vilely repulsed. My God! It looks like a recruitment poster for an SS Death Squad! Whose idea of a sick joke was this, anyway? But the image kept ricocheting around in my brain non-stop. Hmmm...1951, after the war. It's got to be ANTI-Nazi, for sure, I thought.
Many of us spend time searching for "hidden gems". "The Axe of Wandsbek" is, unequivocally, my best find to date, bar none! It is a truly misunderstood masterpiece, of great cinematic, social and historic import.
Director Falk Harnak was a member of the German resistance during the war, as was his brother and most of his extended family. Harnak's brother and most of his relatives were German Gentiles who died in Nazi death camps. Harnak himself narrowly escaped death at Dachau. After the war, the ("We Love Freedom") Americans REFUSED to grant him permission to make this film. He was forced to ask the Russians, in control of East Germany, and they gave him the green light.
AXE played to packed houses in the East until the Russians, after only 3 weeks, pulled the plug on its continued presentation and kept it out of East German release for over 30 years! (They had their own agenda, of course, and claimed AXE painted an unrealistically sympathetic portrait of the Nazis!) Harnak's film speaks a truth that has been yearning to be told for decades! "For ye shall know the TRUTH...and the TRUTH shall set you FREE!"
Before viewing, it is indispensable that you watch University of Massachusetts Historian Dr. Allen's Special Features explanation of the great social and historical significance of AXE. At 30 minutes it's a bit long, but worth it! Dr. Allen adds that in 1951 Germans seemed anathema to any forum in search of collective catharsis. All background info mentioned here comes from her interview. BTW, AXE is exquisitely made! 10*, but recommended primarily for History, Sociolgy, Poly-Sci or classic foreign cinema enthusiasts!....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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