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 ...
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As a painter in the court of King Carlos IV, Goya - played by the great Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis (The Red Tent, Solaris) - has attained wealth and reputation. He believes in King ... 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 »
The architect Daniel Brenner is in his late thirties when he receives his first challenging and lucrative commission: to design a cultural center for a satellite town in East-Berlin. He ... See full summary »
The mechanic Behnke wants to join the Nazi party to secure a good living. However, after his Jewish neighbors have been taken away, he changes his views. Trying to remain "a non-political ... See full summary »
Karl Heinz Deickert
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 »
Two 17-year-olds, Werner Holt and Gilbert Wolzow, are pulled out of school and into Hitler's army. Gilbert becomes a fanatical soldier, but at the front Werner begins to understand the ... See full summary »
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 »
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
"Ich war neunzehn" is for the most part based on the diary director Konrad Wolf kept throughout his time with the Red Army in 1945 and is thus a very personal, authentic, autobiographical account of the last days of World War 2. However, some scenes, e.g. the one in which a blind German soldier mistakes Gregor for an fellow German, had no basis in Wolf's journal and were included for their cinematographic value. See more »
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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