In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Spring 1936, a young unemployed communist, David, leaves his hometown Liverpool to join the fight against fascism in Spain. He joins an international group of Militia-men and women, the ... See full summary »
Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up ... See full summary »
A Jewish boy, separated from his family in the early days of WWII, poses as a German orphan and is thereafter taken into the heart of the Nazi world as a 'war hero' and eventually made a Hitler Youth. Although improbabilities and happenstance are cornerstones of the film, it is based upon a true story. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
The film met with a lukewarm reception in its native Germany, with the local media being less than complementary about it. The German Oscar selection committee did not even include it as a submission for that year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Much embarrassment ensued when it went on to become one of the most successful German films ever released in the US, winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. See more »
At one point Salomon narrowly misses being killed in an air-raid, which kills his roommate. Rather than show a World War II aircraft, or even a bomber, stock footage shows a single C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which was not even designed until many years after the war. See more »
The composition of Jewish blood is totally different from ours. The Jew has a high forehead, a hooked nose, a flat back of the head, ears that stick out, and he has an ape-like walk. His eyes are shifty and cunning. He never looks you in the eye. He waves his hands about, makes exaggerated gestures, and he fawns before you, but the minute your back is turned he leaps at your throat! The Nordic man is the gem of this Earth. He's the most glowing example of the joy of creation. He is not only the...
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One has to be annoyed with comments that question either the historical verisimilitude or the integrity of this film, whether from the shaky ground of some rigid, illiberal ideological or religious prejudice or from some one-sided version of history. Furthermore, negative ad hominem attacks on someone other than political leaders or other persons who willingly seek out the public eye are reprehensible.
Does this story ring true? It does to me, and if there is even one-tenth as much basis in fact in the life of Salomon Perel as is represented in the film, I am satisfied. Having been to all the places and delved into the culture and history of all the nationalities that comprise its background, I am also convinced that much if not all of the story is correct at a level that goes well beyond whether this or that small factual detail is rooted in what actually happened to the real Perel.
Moreover, "Hitlerjunge Salomon" (better known in English-speaking countries as "Europa, Europa") is a masterful piece of cinema, beautifully produced and directed, and bearing a cachet of authenticity that few cross-cultural films achieve. I can attest to the utterly convincing script and characterization within the German language portion, and the bits in Polish and Russian seem equally strong.
Why is it so difficult to believe that a malleable teenager raised in a cross-cultural environment would be any less rooted in one part of his life than another? Marco Hofschneider captures precisely the right tone as he demonstrates how "Solly" and "Jupp" are two complementary aspects of the same person. Indeed, there are even good Germans and bad Germans, good Poles and bad Poles, etc., etc. throughout the film.
None of this compromises the truth that millions of other Jews did not survive the Holocaust. Nor does it demean their memory to cast a glance or two at this singular exception. The survivors have their stories as do the victims, and to explore the wider spectrum of life that goes on is surely to find hope in the ruins of an otherwise depraved episode in world history.
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