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|Index||38 reviews in total|
I had the great pleasure of seeing this film at the 2001 Houston Int'l film fest and spoke briefly with the director. This is an exceptional film both in terms of subject and technical production. For far too long the German heroes of world war two, ordinary family man who's lives were destroyed by Hitler's war machine as thoroughly as those the German's invaded, have been considered guilty by association. As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me, a film version of an equally excellent book, tells the true story of one man and his struggle both during the war and in a Russian concentration camp, and his ensuing decades long struggle to rejoin his family. While the film does stray from reality, it does so to great dramatic effect (the scene on the bridge). I have been pining for four years now to get my hands on a copy of this film for my home collection. If you ever get a chance to watch this film it is one of the best war films you will ever see.
This film is a good example of how new German cinema could be like. Though
shot with a minimum of budget, the authentic atmosphere and the great
landscapes, altogether with Bernhard Bettermann's very convincing acting
made me enjoy this powerful adventure.
The great score by Edward Artemyev, comparable to those great works of
Maurice Jarre, added to the suspenseful and emotionally touching
The often laconic dialogue and the very "American" (too emotional for many
Germans - Americans will like it!) ending did not damage the pleasing
overall impression I had watching it.
In addition, "So weit die Füsse tragen" (As far as my feet will carry me)
comes up with a topic that is - at least in Germany - seldomly discussed:
German POW in Russian gulags after WW2.
This is not a war movie! It's a single man's breathtaking adventure,
returning to his family at all costs. Clemens Forell's three year walk
through Siberia is a true story, which makes the film even more
A strong 8 out of 10, because of the effort the filmmakers put into it.
I saw this film as part of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts film series. It is
an extremely well-acted and well-produced adventure, based on the true
of a German POW's incredible journey through the dauntingly wide expanses
and multi-ethnic terrain of the former Soviet Union in the late '40s and
early '50s. It is beautifully shot on location, outdoor scenes of the
rugged Russian landscape being a principle attraction. It is also quite
well-acted by Bettlemen, who evokes both sympathy with and admiration for
his character, and the rest of the cast.
The principle actor spoke for about an hour afterwards. As he admits, the
film does not go into detail about why the prisoners were there--no doubt
some of them deserved punishment. However, many scenes also concentrate
the main character's wife and children back in Germany. Bettlemen, whose
grandfathers both died in Russian POW camps after WWII, said he did the
as much to illustrate their family's plights as that of the prisoners.
The film (and the book) also illustrate that Samaritanism is not dead, and was not, even in Russia at this time. Forrell was, after all, a German soldier, but he would have been unable to cross Siberia without help from people of many diverse people. As Bettlemen related, "People will help a creature driven into the dust, even if it is their worst enemy."
A revolution took place and the german media never mentioned it: Except from some ignorant right wingers the general media was not willing to comment on this first major production on the topic of german prisoners of war. The original version from the fifties and the book are interesting - this movie is watchable for a big public. I appreciate the courage of the moviemakers to touch this forbidden legacy of germany. Great, heartbreaking cinema, that leaves you in tears at the end - as far as I am concerned.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After WWII, in 1946, a German POW named Clemens Forell is sentenced by
the Soviets to 25 years forced labor in east Siberia at Cape Deshnev.
Unlike many others, he arrives alive. In Siberia, he has to work in a
lead mine - poisoning the POWs with the effect of a terrible low life
expectancy (if they did not starve before anyway). It is a desert full
of ice - there are not even any guards needed to keep the prisoners
from trying to flee. The German doctor of the labor camp helps Clemens
to flee: He had already prepared his own flight, but unfortunately
found out that he suffered from cancer due to the lead - he would not
make it to Germany anyway. So, he urges Clemens to fee instead of him:
"If you make it to Germany, please tell my wife that you've seen my
grave - died in February. No, better tell her I died in May - thus
she'll imagine the grave with flowers." In October 1949, Clemens starts
his trip home from Siberia to Germany - more than 14.000 kilometers on
his own very feet! After a series of breathtaking adventures, he
finally arrives in his little home town in Bavaria and reunites with
his wife and children.
Too unbelievable a story? "We suspected him to be a spy and wanted to hang him. But - if he really was spy he would have invented a more plausible story, wouldn't he?" The thing is: It's a TRUE story. Josef Martin Bauer wrote the book with the same title as this movie in the 1950s after having a series of long interviews with Clemens Forell. It was a great success and became translated in 15 languages. In 1959, there was a Mini-Series on German TV. This movie here is the first version for the "big screen".
"As Far As my Feet Will Carry Me" is really a movie worth seeing. It's very suspenseful like a thriller. And you can even get an insight into a topic quite rarely told in Western cinema: the many different peoples and landscapes in Siberia and Central Asia. As for landscapes: The late Pavel Lebechev (camera) does a great job showing the endless snow-covered width of Siberia - and (in contrast) the narrowness and confinement of the railway carriage during deportation.
A movie worth to see. If you can't find the DVD, please at least read the book by Josef Martin Bauer: "As Far As my Feet Will Carry Me" - a true page-turner.
I like this movie very much - from my point of view its one of the best
German movies i saw last years.
Protagonist of movie is Clemens Forell, a German soldier in WWII, judged by Stalins Soviet Union to many years of "Arbeitslager" (you can also say "Gulag") in the most north-east of Siberia - what was normally equal to be judged to death (for example only 6000 from close to 100.000 POWs from the "Battle for Stalingrad" returned ever home - last ones in 1956 - 3 years after Stalin died).
So, this movie shows the escape of Forell, going (mostly) by feet thousands of miles to escape from this point in the Soviet Union, where no tree grows - East Siberia.
What is nice in this movie is the fact, that you realise, that not Forell, or the Russian people, have any hate against each other - its government, who made all this - the tyranny of Hitler and Stalin.
This movie is really nice made - you don't want to stop to watch - as you cant stop reading a good book - i recommend it for everybody who want to see something about a part of WWII, where nobody speaks too often about - or who want to watch only a really nice movie.
10 of 10 from me for this movie.
I agree with some other commentators who said that this movie was
somewhat overtly dramatic - in some points getting almost too
sugary/tear-jerking experience. I haven't read the book so it is hard
to comment how faithful the film is to the book, but seems that the
authors of the film almost a bit overemphasized the great survival
story and the connection between the father and the child.
This is counter-balanced by good acting, rather good cinematography and beautiful images of nature. "So weit die Füsse tragen" is fairly entertaining as an adventure film and I was strangely attracted by the story about travelling through endless wastes of Siberia. The portrayal of nature is captivating. The film isn't a remarkable masterpiece, but I'd still recommend seeing it if the subject sounds appealing. After all, German POWs in Russia isn't exactly the most worn subject of films.
Atlast the wait is over, we see a German POW portrayed in good sense,up
against all obstacles,hurdles a human could ever tolerate.Its about
Clemens Forell(POW)making his way all through the feet to him hometown.
I donna want to spoil the plot by detailing the events.
The film scores in its background & theme music,adds Chilling effect to the frozen sheet.The exotic locations is visual treat for eyes. Irina Pantaeva locks you in her charm and beauty.Even though the film ends in a positive note,you will suffer from the DISTANT WALK.This film made me look beyond the horizon Hollywood, and ignited a liking for German movies.A great movie if you have the TIME. If you like this movie you will also like THE GREAT ESCAPE(pow classic)
So weit die Fusse tragen (As Far as my Feet Will Carry Me), is a beautiful and unusual WW II film. It is based on a true story of a German prisoner of war captured by the Russians. The film locations are strikingly beautiful and severe. The hero's encounters with other prisoners and various folk (and animals) keeps you on the edge of your seat. The acting is superb. I loved every suspenseful minute of it.
I thought this movie is very well because it depicts a person as what he/she is, a human. It does not delve into politics, ethnic or racial backgrounds and simply shows how a person's life was destroyed by the worldview that devides us in races and ethnicities. Forell was a good man who became victim of his ethnicity and the evil that other "members" of his ethnicity had caused. To me, the movie shows that violence always is aimed at the weaker, and mostly at the innocent. There simply is no justification for violence against innocent individuals no matter what background they are from. Interestingly, I think this movie is a great contribution to something we still need to come to grips with in our current times. Is it just to persecute the entire Hutu race, because Tutsis were slaughtered by the political representation and the army of the Hutus? Can an entire race, ethnicity or religion be held responsible for crimes committed by other individuals of the same background? I strongly doubt it. I think if we as the human kind would come to terms with judging a person as an individual and not as a whole ethnicity we would take a BIG step forward for our humanity. But will we ever learn? I strongly hope.
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