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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Von Trier has created a film that is a noir satire, a joke on psychotherapy, the last great hurrah for back-projection in movies (even tops "The Nasty Girl" in that depatment), a historical hoax, a satire of the Prussian work ethic, a satire of noir romances, and an indirect indictment on the firms which profited off twelve years of Hiterite insanity. The train is Germany, with Ernst-Hugo Jaregard and Jean Marc-Bar decked out as its' SS and military (notice the tunic design, the collar patch piping, the peaked caps, the fact that it's all black.) The Werewolves are taken from Reichspropagandaminister Goerbbles' last hat trick, that the Reich gov't. was prepping an army of saboteurs in 1944-45 to make occupation a misery. The Zentropa firm is a combination of the steel kingpin Krupp (which used slave labor at Auschwitz), and Deutche Reichsbahn (the state railway firm which sent so many to their deaths), along with others like Ford, who profited from Axis and Allied war efforts. Hence the burial sequence is doubly ironic; the Nazi war profiteer getting last rites in a ruined cattle car that was probably resposible for the oblivion of hundreds. The film leaves you with the suspicion that Nazism was an extreme expression of the German national psychology of sado-masochism and that 46 years later Hitler's shadow still stalked Europa (the cathedral scene was shot in an actual Polish cathedral which had been left roofless by the Communist Polish gov't.) I will say no more, but I do love the "Europa Aria" over the final credits. That song says more then I possibly could.
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