A perfect reflection of the late Twenties in Germany
This film is based on a novel of the famous writer Joseph Roth. Director Bernhard Wicki, born in 1919, had a pretty good idea about the German society in the late Twenties. Personally he had to suffer under the NAZI regime and had to spend some years in a concentration camp, just for making a remark about Göring's wife ("Die Hohe Frau ist eine fette Sau"(The Lady is a fat pig)).
The political background of the story was certainly the frustration of many Germans about the Versailles Treaty which lead to an exaggerated nationalistic feeling, especially among the aristocrats and wealthy land owners. Wicki describes this general development based on single fates and analyzes therewith the unhealthy situation in Germany which ended in the takeover of the political and individual life by the Nazis.
The cast is first class: Ulrich Mühe (who won the "Oscar" award for his role in the movie "Das Leben der Anderen"), Armin Müller-Stahl and not to forget Klaus Maria Brandauer.
The main figure - Theodor Lohse(Mühe) - is a typical example for a young man who simply tries to meliorate his personal situation and just wants to live a better life. His only chance is to unconditionally surrender to the influential and wealthy class which dictates the political and daily life in Germany.
Wicki shows analytically the suspension which leads Lohse more and more in a criminal life where there is no escape. This 3 hour movie is full of historical details which give an excellent picture of the mood and situation in these days. For a non German this story might be rather complicated and hard to follow if he is not familiar with the newer German history of the late Twenties and early Thirties of the past century.
I can only recommend this film which is full of suspense, to everybody who is interested in the history of our country.
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