April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted ... See full summary »
As rumors reach them that the Allied armies are advancing on their concentration camp at Buchenwald, Polish prisoners renew their feeble hope for survival and freedom. When a group of ... See full summary »
Sunny is the singer of band trying to establish itself in the music-scene of East-Berlin. They play regular gigs in small towns, but Sunny feels out of touch with the audience and her life ... See full summary »
Injured on the job Vasily Kuzyakin gets a ticket to the resort. There he meets femme fatale Raisa Zakharovna, and once under the charm, moves to live with her. Unfortunately, a new life is not all that sweet as dreamed hapless Vasily.
Four young Germans in a Soviet POW camp decide to join the Red Army to hasten the end of the war. Their new identities elicit different reactions from Germans and Russians, and are ... See full summary »
In 1833, when the fledgling Belgian kingdom still fears a Dutch invasion, recruits were selected annually from an age cohort by a draw of lots in each locality. In this grim, then ... See full summary »
April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted with the dilemma of having to fight men from the very country he was born in. Through dealing with challenging situations (e.g. he is appointed commander of Bernau, talks to many disillusioned Germans, and is once and again attacked by scattered groups of German soldiers), he grows more confident that not all hope is lost for post-war Germany. Based on the diary entries of director Konrad Wolf, the episodic movie authentically portrays the protagonist's struggle to come to terms with his own past and identity. Written by
Shot in Eastern Germany in 1968, 'Ich war neunzehn' (= German for 'I was nineteen years old') is among the better films from the former Communist part of Europe.
Set in the last days of Adolf Hitler, 'Ich war neunzehn' deals with Stalin's Red Army invading Germany from the East. To avoid the countless atrocities committed by both sides in the most savage war in history of mankind, the East German filmmakers choose to show events through the eyes of a nineteen year old boy. A logical choice: this introduces innocence, as well as hope for the future.
The rest of this enjoyable film is propaganda, sold in a friendly and human way. The Red Army is presented as liberating the German common people from Hitler's rule. Its victorious soldiers show themselves eager to make friends with them.
In reality, after three terrible years of German occupation in the Soviet Union, Stalin's soldiers applied a fearful revenge when invading Germany. A revenge encouraged by steady Communist propaganda. It resulted in many crimes, such as the free rape of German women. You will understand that 'Ich war neunzehn' ignores this.
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