Known as "The Peasant-General"(Der Bauerngeneral)in Germany.
A short summary: The 30 years war(1618-1648) is raging through Germany. A famous German writer once stated: It started as a religious war of catholic against protestants, later a war between Sweden, Germany and spain and towards the last act, a war between France and the dynasty of the German Habsburgs. The Catholic french allied under Cardinal Richelieu with the protestant calvinistic swedes. But the people fighting and suffering it, did not really know, what it was all about. In the end, nobody really had any idea, why they where fighting at all. When the war was over, a devastated Germany emerged with broken people and broken biographies. More than half of the German population of 45 million vanished in those 30 years of unrelenting war. In those 30 years, the frontlines crossed Germany several times, each time the loyalties of the population where questioned, in the latter part the soldateska did not even ask anymore, they just pillaged the countryside for forage and fortunes, leaving death and devastation in their path. Now in the Vogtland, there was a peasant that united the farmers and taught them to be victims no more. From now on they tried to protect their livestocks and stopped paying ruining war taxes and closing the doors to army recruiters. The earl(Landgraf) of Reichenfels, ruler of the vogtland, did not like the modern ideas of the peasant uprising, reacted doublefaced to the events. A skillfull survivor adjusting
to the tides of war, often at the cost of his own people. The story is keeping the viewer in suspense, often tragic and sad. This keeps the story close to historical events and makes it realistic. But the story is not without humor, but in a very different style ,than of comparable corny Hollywood productions. A lot of effort was spent to recapture the 17th century in detail. The costumes, buildings and weapons are fairly depicted, considering the TV budged to manage with. In all a history fans feast, and not only history fans are gonna enjoy this film. I rated this movie 8 out of 10 stars. It deserves a DVD release, and not the current shroud of forgotteness, just because it was a "GDR-DEFA" production.
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