Just after W.W.II, an American takes a railway job in Germany, but finds his position politically sensitive with various people trying to use him.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Leopold Kessler
...
Katharina Hartmann
...
Lawrence Hartmann
...
Uncle Kessler
Erik Mørk ...
Pater
Jørgen Reenberg ...
Max Hartmann
...
Siggy
...
Colonel Harris
...
Narrator (voice)
Benny Poulsen ...
Steleman
Erno Müller ...
Seifert
Dietrich Kuhlbrodt ...
Inspector
Michael Phillip Simpson ...
Robins
Holger Perfort ...
Mr. Ravenstein
Anne Werner Thomsen ...
Mrs. Ravenstein
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Storyline

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 June 1991 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Europa  »

Box Office

Budget:

DKK 28,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,007,001 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lars von Trier: the Jew who signs the affidavit clearing the name of the Zentropa owner. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Narrator: In the morning, the sleeper has found rest on the bottom of the river. The force of the stream has opened the door and is leading you on. Above your body, people are still alive. Follow the river as days go by. Head for the ocean that mirrors the sky. You want to wake up to free yourself of the image of Europa. But it is not possible.
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Connections

Referenced in Triers element (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Variation on a theme by [link=nm0002136]'s score for the film Vertigo (1958)
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User Reviews

 
Manipulation
26 January 2005 | by (Amsterdam) – See all my reviews

Von Trier once explained how he created such strong involvement from the viewer with his movies by placing his movie world in about the middle of the real world and the imagined world. So as viewers we think we watch a "true" story while in fact we are thoroughly manipulated, often to the point that the movie works disturbing (Dancer in the Dark) or painful (The Idiots/ Idioterne). Of course the Dogme-films acted only as a vehicle for this theory (besides creating some welcome spotlight on Von Trier).

The story is typical for Von Trier: our hero is idealistic, seems to balance his relations with everybody else, but soon becomes the victim of the problems others have created in the past for themselves. The idealist inevitably has to reject society in order to stay idealistic and becomes the terrorist. Mankind is spoiled and purity only leads to (self-)destruction. (These elements were also very omnipresent in Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark.) The movie is also full of cynical (even humorous) undertones about the role of the Germans and Americans in post-war Germany.

As a technical achievement the movie is wonderfully designed: shifting and fading washed-out colors, screen overlays, action on different overlays (with the shooting of the soon-to-be mayor as the most interesting). In this movie we can see how good Von Trier's handles film as a technical medium. In his later works he seems to step down from this (as if he is not longer interested in technical achievements because they become so easily available).


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