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Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very soon he is taken prisoner of war. After shortly serving in Goerings hunting lodge, he becomes the dogsbody in Kaltenborn Castle, an elite training camp for German boys. Completely happy to take care of these children, he becomes a servant of Nazism, catching boys from the area as supplies for the camp. Written by
Frank Wallner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Prior to the school fire, a caption says "Paris 1925". Upon his arrest as an adult, Abel, through his narration, remembers the fire as having happened "twenty years ago". This would place his adult scenes in 1945, but when he joins the French army after his arrest it is before the German occupation of Paris which would place his arrest in 1940. However, Abel is slow-witted and possibly does not have an accurate sense of time. See more »
Count von Kaltenborn:
This whole beautiful country, to which we have given our souls, is utterly doomed. It's going to be wiped out of human memory. Our entire heritage, even our name, our ancestors' names, wiped out, all wiped out!
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Interesting film! Such a wealth of crucial questions, great performances - and yet, the final cohesion remains lacking here. The paradox of the enchantment of Nazism has been too little problematized in the cinema, and any attempt to say anything new on the subject is welcome. Schlöndorff does a cinematically good work, but where the film falters is in the way actual, brutal history and Abel's vision of Nazism as the Magic Kingdom are bound together. It's hard to pinpoint where the fault lies; there's just a sense of maybe trying too much at once. Anyway, an honorable and perhaps too multi-layered analysis of the 20th century nightmare.
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