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Berlin 1943/44 ("The Battle of Berlin"). Felice, an intelligent and courageous Jewish woman who lives under a false name, belongs to an underground organization. Lilly, a devoted mother of four, though an occasional unfaithful wife, is desperate for love. An unusual and passionate love between them blossoms despite the danger of persecution and nightly bombing raids. The Gestapo is on Felice's trail. Her friends flee, she decides to sit out the war with Lilly. One hot day in August 1944, the Gestapo is waiting in Lilly's flat... Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
The setting is Berlin during the last days of World War II. Aimée and Jaguar are nicknames for two women. Jaguar, or Felice Schragenheim, is played by Maria Schrader, a painfully slender, winsome, enigmatic, and devastatingly beautiful actress whose character rolls through this story like a loose cannon. She is well matched by Aimée, or Lilly Wust, played by Juliane Köhler, attractive but older, by turns lustful and distraught.
To survive in difficult times, young Felice poses for nude photos, works in a newspaper office, and gives dance lessons. Lilly is a housewife, mother of four small children, and her husband is at the eastern front. She entertains single men while her children go to the zoo "again?" Felice conceives a passion for Lilly from afar and writes her a romantic letter, signed "Jaguar."
I don't want to spoil the story, so I will say no more about it. This is a frankly sexy, exceedingly passionate movie based on a true story. The acting is spectacular, the recreation of time and place is convincing enough, and the music and photography are exemplary. In German with English subtitles. Highest recommendation.
In a few scenes, especially during the first hour, I had the impression that I was getting the text of what was being said, but was missing the subtext--i.e., what was really going on. I plan to watch it again before sending it back to Netflix, something I've not done previously (though I came close with High Noon). If you suspect that I conceived a passion for Felice from afar, you'd be right; you might, too, if you see this movie. But see it also because it's simply excellent from beginning to end.
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