A group of artistic people whose comfortable lives have been torn to shreds by the Nazi regime gather in Zurich to escape the dreaded Gestapo. They yearn for the old Germany before Hitler dictated a new way of life. The Jewish families are particularly at risk.
There is nothing new in this film. We have seen it all before. The biographical film of German author Thomas Mann and his family is almost identical in the events recorded. A group of people always on the move around Europe. Drugs and suicide as a means of escape play a role in both films.
"Der Vulkan" has little visual action. A clear picture of the new Germany is conjured up in the many conversations. As the champagne corks fly. tongues are loosened and a lively debate about the future for Germany gathers pace. From time to time police appear suddenly to check passports and someone is carried off. Life is not easy...it's like living on a volcano and the future looks bleak. There may be no tomorrow, so fill the glasses once more!
Among the artists is a singer from the von Kammer family. At least with her rousing songs she brings some relief to the interminable conversations and arguments. But her songs are filled with sorrow and disgust, hatred and cynicism for what Germany has become. She remembers the theatre in Berlin where she once sang in happier times. It is no more. It was burnt down. The frustration of the characters is well portrayed as they wonder about the existence of friends and family they left behind in Berlin.
This is not an explosive film, not really great. If we need to be reminded at all, it tells us once again how the lives of so many people were changed forever...people who lost their homeland, who were forced into exile and who became refugees. These are the people this film remembers.
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