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 »
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
Director Wolf has a small masterpiece in this film, which is about the exploration of a young German-born Russian soldier's attempt to find his roots during the final days of World War II as the Russian Army advances on Berlin. This is also an unsweetened account of the chaos of war. Many suspenseful moments and never boring. Gregor, the nineteen-year-old of the title reveals himself throughout as the confused, self-conscious, prideful and sometimes ruthless young man that he is, not unlike any young man of 19 caught up in wartime situations. Highly recommended. Another look but an unusual one at the war that marked the 20th Century.
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