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An American of German descent arrives in post-war Germany 1945. His uncle gets him a job on the Zentropa train line as a sleeping car conductor. The American's wish is to be neutral to the ongoing purges of loyalists by the Allied forces and do what he can to help a hurting country, but he finds himself being used by both the Americans and the influential family that owns the railroad. After falling in love with the railroad magnate's daughter, he finds that he can't remain neutral and must make some difficult choices. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Someone release this movie on DVD so it can take its hallowed place as one of the greatest films of all time in ten to twenty years when critics and film historians look back on the so-called films of the 1990's and see how vapid they were for the most part, and how Lars Von Trier tried to revolutionize and revitalize the international film world with this masterpiece. As it stands, "Zentropa" (or "Europa" as it is referred to outside the US) is one of the most fascinating and artistic views of the bleakness and almost psychotic uncertainty that oozed out of post WWII Europe, namely the decimated German landscape, whose physical horrors were matched only by the damage to the psyche of its people. Von Trier brilliantly paints his vision on screen. You will feel like you are watching some lost espionage noir classic from the late 1940's with the perfectly lighted black and white scenes, while at the same time feel you are on the brink of something beyond the cutting edge, especially in scenes like the assassination aboard the train. Literally, when you see this movie, you are witnessing the evolution of an art form.
For some reason, Von Trier got caught up in his own Dogma movement shortly after this. And while his "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark" are classics in their own right, it is with "Zentropa" that he truly lifted the art of film making to new and exciting heights. 10/10, ages like a fine wine, and begs for a DVD release.
***Postscript - Criterion released the film on DVD in 2009. Highly recommended.
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